Serialized anime recommendations
January 9, 2007 3:46 AM   Subscribe

Anime recommendations -- specifically, serialized anime.

I loved Fullmetal Alchemist and am currently enjoying Bleach on the Cartoon Network. I also liked Serial Experiments Lain when I watched it several years ago, but I tend to prefer things to be a little more comprehensible. Mostly I'm looking for fantasy with good characterization and an involved storyline.

I'm asking so that I have something to watch while I work out, so I'd especially appreciate series that have a lot of episodes. Subtitles are okay if no dub is available (or if the available dub is truly horrible).

I've already seen Cowboy Bebop, but that and the aforementioned pretty much exhaust my consumption of this sort of anime.
posted by zixyer to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite anime ever is Shoujo Kakumei Utena (in the US, "Revolutionary Girl Utena"). It's low on the comprehensibility factor until you watch through the whole series (in fact, watching it AGAIN helps even more). It's a good fantasy world, lots of intrigue, tons of symbolism that had my friends and me sitting late at night with a Bible and the Internet to look up all the stuff we were seeing, and the ending always makes me cry even though I've seen the series like ten times. 39 episodes spread over three "seasons", plus a movie that is sort of a fan-service parallel universe.

Also, Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 is pretty good for a less nebulous series. The action is good and the story is pretty nifty.

I highly recommend both subtitled, because I think you get a lot more out of it that way, but both are available in dubs.
posted by olinerd at 3:58 AM on January 9, 2007

The more anime one watches, the more snarky of an answer you're bound to get.

Try Rurouni Kenshin, also called Samurai X for the dub. It's been fairly well liked, runs just shy of 100 episodes, and should be easily available. You've probably already seen Inuyasha from Cartoon Network, that one's entirely a matter of personal taste. If you don't mind something semi-realistic, try Hajime no Ippo, or Fighting Spirit. Kid becomes boxer. Somehow, I think all the old Nintendo Punch-Out fans love this one...

Also, while there's not much in the way of continuous storyline, I'd have to give a thumbs up to Lupin the Third. Master thief, persistent cop, cool sidekicks, and the requisite busty babe who could have been a Bond girl. There's no shortage of episodes, TV specials, and movies.

So, there you go. A handful of easily available dubbed long running anime titles, although Rurouni Kenshin is about as close as I can think of to what you asked specifically. Hope that's some help.
posted by Saydur at 4:09 AM on January 9, 2007

I'm watching Death Note right now, and I love it. It's very fast paced, and there are only twelve episodes out now, but it is such an enthralling anime that I cannot do anything but recommend it.
posted by Meagan at 4:10 AM on January 9, 2007

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of my favourites in the serialized genre... Escaflowne as well (the original, not the horrendous Fox version).
posted by antifuse at 4:47 AM on January 9, 2007

Good stuff in some previous threads. It's a bit off the beaten anime track, but I'd also recommend Samurai Jack. The nearly wordless pilot was one of the more brilliant and engaging cartoons I've seen on television, and set up the ongoing story beautifully. It's got great style and pacing, and because it's not afraid to take chances like telling a story without much dialogue would be perfect for working out.
posted by mediareport at 5:22 AM on January 9, 2007

Samurai Champloo, and Neon Genesis are two of my favourites.
posted by tomble at 5:38 AM on January 9, 2007

Trigun is high on my list of serial animes, ranking right up there with Bleach and Cowboy Bebop. My roommate and I have sat up with her laptop between us and watched (or at least tried to!) every episode in one huge mega-marathon. It's just that good.

I enjoyed what I saw of BGC:2040 - I guess we made it halfway through the series. I've also heard good things about Samurai Champloo.
posted by Adelwolf at 5:45 AM on January 9, 2007

I really enjoyed The Big O, especially because of the interesting characters and how much crazy style and layers the world had.

(The ending is a bit in the "incomprehensible/ah, we're kinda making it all up now" school of anime endings, though. But up until then it was rock solid!)
posted by cadge at 6:33 AM on January 9, 2007

I came to say Evangelion, but I'll stay to recommend Samurai 7 (animated series remake of the Seven Samurai.)
posted by utsutsu at 7:11 AM on January 9, 2007

Bleach and Naruto have immense story-arcs and are definitely worth checking out.

Let it be known that most subbed anime is available for free at various Bit Torrent sites like AnimeSuki.
posted by Ekim Neems at 7:23 AM on January 9, 2007

I will also give my nods to Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion and Samurai Champloo.

Also, if you want more stuff in the steampunk-y vein, then also check out Last Exile. It's aimed at a slightly younger audience than the Eva or the Shinichiro Watanabe stuff, but the world concept is fantastic.
posted by bl1nk at 7:25 AM on January 9, 2007

Check out Samurai 7 and Basilisk, each about 26 episodes. I second Samurai Champloo and Naruto. And the Ghost in the Shell series (1st and 2nd season) is cool to watch.

Naruto is like up to 200 episodes or something like that (I'm stuck around episode 150) and they are going back to the manga story arcs in Feb, so I'm looking forward to that (There's a big part in the middle, somewhere like Episode 130 to Present that is anime only).
posted by stlboi at 7:49 AM on January 9, 2007

Ghost in the shell: Stand Alone Complex and GITS:SAC 2nd GIG (second season). The movies are excellent, too. Be warned, though, that they could be a little dense to watch while working out.
Love Hina and 2x2: Shinobuden come behind, being much more apt to watch while on the treadmill, but you could lose your breath while laughing...
posted by ArchEnemy at 7:54 AM on January 9, 2007

I've heard good things about Samurai Champloo also. Is Fushigi Yuugi worth mentioning here? 56 episodes and definite storyline with some funny plot/character twists too.
You can find it dubbed or subtitled.
posted by clanger at 9:02 AM on January 9, 2007

Samurai Champloo & the Ghost in the Shell SAC/GIG are both good.
posted by juv3nal at 9:54 AM on January 9, 2007

Definitely do Neon Genesis Evangelion, but then follow it up with FLCL. Evangelion is 26 episodes and two movies that deal with a set of themes about adolescence, etc, in a very dark manner, and then the team that made the series came out with FLCL, a 6 episode romantic comedy inversion of those same themes. It makes for a fun extension of the series. (In the second Evangelion movie, which was co-directed by the guy who would direct FLCL, theres a moment where the whole series essentially goes into the Romantic Comedy mode, and you can see the prototype for what would be FLCL, and there are many more fun connections throughout) Also if you're looking for good dubbing, I still haven't found a better american translation and dub than you can find on FLCL.
posted by jrb223 at 10:15 AM on January 9, 2007

Oh. I also recommend Boogiepop Phantom, if you want a good, creepy, atmospheric horror anime.
posted by jrb223 at 10:17 AM on January 9, 2007

Thanks, everyone. This response was much greater than I expected. These all sound like good recommendations and I'm looking forward to getting started.

I'm ashamed to admit that I've been purposefully avoiding Evangelion because I thought it might be too heavy for me, but given the volume of praise for it in this thread I guess I'll have to check it out.

Targeted responses:

Saydur: Yeah, I've seen Inuyasha but it really didn't grab me. It's kind of tricky jumping in the middle of a story to really be able to tell if you'd like the series (add to that how many TV shows tend to get much better after several episodes). Rurouni Kenshin looks interesting. I have seen several episodes of Lupin the Third and like that too.

Meagan: Thanks -- Death Note looks like the sort of show that I enjoy.

Adelwolf: I'll check out Trigun as well.

cadge: I don't think it's so bad having things get really complex at the end (I think this sort of structure worked really well in Fullmetal Alchemist) because, hopefully by that point, you're already invested enough in the story to try to make sense of things. yes, I know the end of Fullmetal Alchemist is where it diverged from the concurrently-running manga and that could explain some of the change in tone.

Ekim Neems: Thanks. I'm already watching Bleach and I really like it -- will certainly look into Naruto.

Sorry if I didn't get to you. I'll also check out Samurai 7 and Samurai Champloo.

Again, thanks so much for the recommendations. I hope this thread has been helpful to others as well as myself.
posted by zixyer at 11:11 AM on January 9, 2007

I'm not really into anime, but everyone told me I had to watch "The Last Exile" (26 episodes), I bowed to their superior numbers, and it was fantastic. The DVDs offer both dub and sub (How's that for speaking the anime lingo! :)
I found the first and last episode a bit confusing, but yeah, can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:23 AM on January 9, 2007

Don't forget Basilisk. It's based off of Ninja Scrolls. Or maybe Ninja Scrolls is based off this? Or they are both based off of the same novel. But Basilisk in a nut shell is about a battle between two ninja clans, each clan have chosen their top 10 ninjas to represent the clan to battle, pretty violent.
posted by stlboi at 11:35 AM on January 9, 2007

Oh yeah, I forgot to add the main character in Basilisk has the best ninja technique/special move I've ever seen in any anime dealing with ninja. Specifically how everything visually looks when he performs it. Okay, I'm done.
posted by stlboi at 11:37 AM on January 9, 2007

I haven't seen the whole series, but what I saw of Martian Successor Nadesico was fun. Giant robots, space opera, etc, and lots of characters themselves are fans of an anime show that comes up a lot.

Evangelion (or as I like to call it, Xenon First-Corinthians Apostleopard) is indeed good, but I find it hard to watch. Ditto FLCL, which pushes my WTF? button really hard.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:59 PM on January 9, 2007

While Hellsing doesn't have a plot as deep as say, Eva, I still enjoyed it, and I think you would too. It's 13 episodes, and I think they've started making OVAs of it as well.
posted by nakedsushi at 3:43 PM on January 9, 2007

"Eureka seven" is a nice, semi-generic (has giant robots, and "cool" people and a kid wanting acceptance into said people's inner circle) anime that is strangely addictive, I myself have only seen 7 or so episodes, but it seems well written, though not too cerebral
posted by Iananan at 4:35 PM on January 9, 2007

Haibane Renmei. It's a bittersweet fantasy kind of anime, by the same person who did Lain. If you found Lain beautiful but slightly too confusing Haibane is a great alternative. And the music is beautiful.
posted by media_itoku at 6:24 PM on January 9, 2007

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