Top List: My top 10 Nostalgic Anime

Hello anime fans and welcome to the first of many  top tens I plan on  posting.  This particular piece is one I have been planning since I  started blogging.  As otaku, we all have a show, OVA or movie that we are attached to.  I daresay that  a certain few to which we grow emotionally attach over time. The titles listed below breed a feeling of nostalgia within me that I am honored to share with the world.

 

Before I begin, allow me to lay down  my criteria for this list:

1. It has to be an anime of the older persuasion as newer anime don’t really inspire as much of an emotional attachment.

2. In order to be nostalgic an anime must evoke some kind of emotion.

3. Lastly, many of the list items may have a story attached to it.  As such I will be sharing some deeply personal experiences  Please do not flame me for this as I detest noncritical unappreciative comments.

 

Without further interuption here is the list:

 

10: Pokémon:

Pokemon

 

 

As a kid growing up in the 90s I couldn’t turn own a TV without seeing the Pokémon anime.  I was a huge fan-boy owning both Pokémon Stadium games and hundreds of the trading cards  In fact I still have the Charazard gold card offered by Burger King during the release of  the first movie. I must have watch the series for years.  Back then I really wanted to catch ‘em all.

 

09: Digimon

Digimon

 

Much in the vein of Pokémon, Digimon is also an old favorite. However I felt that Digimon was much more mature than Pokémon since it featured real battles and the digimon actually talked  I was addicted for the first two seasons.  Unfortunately the series was too full of itself when Digimon Tamers debuted .  This is where I lost interest and moved on  to the next great series.

 

08: Cardcapturor Sakura

CCS

 

Its confession time. I loved this show when it was on Kids WB. I don’t know whether it was the show’s dark atmosphere or its art style but this show has a mystical quality to it.  To this day, I wish the ladies at CLAMP would write a sequel.  Alas it shall never be.

 

07. Ronin Warriors

Ronin Wariors

It’s about time I mentioned Cartoon Network’s classic Toonami block. As many of you may  remember that Ronin Warriors was one of the first shows to debut on the block way back in 1997.  This was my one of my first action anime.  I remember waiting on baited breath as I watched Ryo and his friends confront Tulpa’s evil Dynasty.  I was only six when I saw this but it was still cool for its time.

 

06: Yu-Gi-Oh

Yugioh

Yu-Gi-Oh was the was the best card game based anime there ever was. Unfortunately I feel that most of the nostalgia here is bound up in the trading card game which I played religiously with my best friend right up until he quit  I can’t say I enjoyed the anime since it was trying so hard to be epic that it ended up becoming annoying. It has been redone three times since the original only to be made worse. I’m looking at you 5Ds.

 

05: FLCL

FLCL

 

Let’s kick off the top five with an Adult Swim classic Fooly Ciooly.  This show was the center of my confusion for many years. It was basically an anime version of the show about nothing.  It’s ten types of random and I love it.  Its ending was an issue though.

 

04: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

Gundam Wing

 

This wouldn’t be a top ten nostalgic anime list without a granddaddy of all mecha series.  I chose Gundam wing because it was my first acquaintance with Sunrise’s epic action saga. It was five teenage boys against a world oppressed by a military  foundation bent on war. In my opinion, Gundam Wing is the best entry in the franchise

 

03: Full Metal Alchemist

FMA

For those of you who don’t know I am physically impaired.  That is why  the storyline of Full Metal Alchemist struck a chord in me.  Watching the Elric Brothers fight to fix their broken bodies made me an instant fan-boy. I think it worthy of a higher  place, but there are others worthy of higher praise.

 

02:Witch Hunter Robin

WHR

 

This is an obscure piece but altogether deserving of its rank..  When I first watched this series I was in the a hospital bed recovering from a broken hip. Watching WHR kept my mind  off the pain.  It’s immersive world  kept me occupied for hours on end. Still there is on anime that overshadows even that.

 

01:Yu Yu Hakusho:

YYH

 

The final Item on the list was my first experience with long-running anime.It is hands-down my favorite old school series of all time.  It was a major adrenalin rush throughout and I can’t recall missing a single episode The ending was a little contrived but I didn’t care. I just wanted to see the next awesome episode.

 

That is my first top ten. I hope you enjoyed it as much as  I did.  Unfortunately I have to end the list. As always, keep your browser for more content.  Thanks for reading. Expect more lists.

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Anime Review: Sword Art Online Part 2/2 (Alfheim Online)

Previously, I posted a review of the Aincrad Arc of Sword Art Online. As I stated in the aforementioned review I felt it had a lot of potential but did not live up to the hype surrounding the series. However, despite its flaws, I found it a creative well-animated take on the survival game subgenre. It is rather unfortunate that such an interesting and well thought out premise has to be marred by less than affable writing. Personal hang-ups aside, at least the ending of the first arc was plausible and, despite the cliffhanger, was somewhat satisfying.

To my dismay, such an ending was not satisfactory for the production studio as it didn’t cover enough source material to fill a twenty-five episode series. Apparently, the producers over at A-1 Productions decided to incorporate what should have been a completely separate series into a thirteen episode arc. This forced combination of the two arcs resulted in the second arc feeling more like a vague and unneeded continuation of Sword Art Online Completely reliant on the Aincrad arc for key elements of its back-story Alfheim Online pales in comparison to its predecessor in every way possible. Unfortunately, given the fact that my reviews are all-inclusive I would be remiss to review one half of a series without the other: thus I solider on for my viewing audience.

Story:

The Alfhiem arc picks up where the previous arc left off where Kazuto has returned to the real world and struggles to adjust to life outside of the game. However, it is soon revealed that this apparently happy ending isn’t as flowery as it seems since Asuna remains trapped in the the game while real body lies comatose in a hospital. Initially distraught at the loss of his lover Kazuto begins to visit her regularly only to be informed that she is soon to wed to a megalomaniac named Sogou Nobuyuki who seeks to possess her for devious reasons. A colleague of Asuna’s father, he acquires the assets used to create Sword Art Online using them to foster the creation of a new VRMMO wherein he has imprisoned Asuna. Enraged by this knowledge Kazuto reassumes the mantle of Kirito and dives headlong into Alfhiem Online with the intent of saving her.

Upon entering the game, Kirrito immediately receives plot armor through a glitch that allows him to retain his stats from Sword Art Online with the excerption of the revered dual-wielding skill. Unfortunately this isn’t the only that gives the Black Swordsman a rather obvious edge since most the game’s source program is a direct rip-off of SAO which opens the game up to severe exploitation which I won’t go into since it would lead to a massive spoiler. The viewer soon learns that the key difference between Alfheim Online and its deadly counterpart is the inclusion its flight system and the ability to log out. While I appreciate these features I feel like the real-word sequences slow the show down and leave me somewhat depressed.

Irritatingly enough, the Alfhiem arc also includes a secondary love interest and mentor in the form of Laefa, While I found her light-hearted personality refreshing the incestuous desires of her real-world counterpart Suguha detracts from her character and makes her seem like a love-struck teenager While I wanted to enjoy both Leafa and Suguha immensely as characters they just didn’t have the same depth of character Asuna had in the Aincrad arc.

This brings to Asuna who has fallen as a character from being one of the best female main characters of all time to the oversimplified role of damsel in distress. To add insult to injury the poor girl is nearly raped twice in the course of the arc. Being forced to watch these instances of depravity really brought the series down for me since Asuna is hands-down my favorite character. In the end, I actually felt sorry for her as she was literally tortured by Sogou having been forced to watch the final battle before being essentially felt up by Oberon. While both Sogou and his avatar get what they deserve I find Asuna is made to suffer for the sake of plot which is why I will not rewatch the Alfhiem arc.

Style:

As horrible as the plot of Alfhiem Online is I am afraid the style has suffered even worse. This is particularly true in the area of character design. For instance, Kirito’s design seems to be patterned after a troll doll whereas Leafa’s is a blatant rip-off of Disney’s Tinkerbell. Asuna’s design , I’m sorry to say, gets the worst treatment as she is made to wear a very revealing costume that makes her character seem more like eye candy than a full-fledged character. This aside, the overall art style of Sword Art Online remains largely untouched making it a treat for the eye.

Sound Design:

Fortunately. Sword Art Online’s soundtrack saves the whole review. However, I find that the new opening that accompanied the Alfhiem arc was a bit jarring in comparison to Aincrad’s Crossing Fields and the other orchestral on the OST. The voice acting is well done with the exception Cassandra Lee Morris whose performances as Suguha and Leafa left a lot to be desired. In all honesty, Morris’s child-like performance brought down the otherwise stellar portrayal of Kirito and Asuna don by Pappenbrook and Lee. This leaves me unable to say I enjoyed it enough to compare to the previous arc.

.

Conclusion:

As I said previously, Sword Art Online had a lot of potential. However, to its misfortune, Alfhiem squandered a great deal of it. With a plot so contrived that it might as well have been a poorly-written fan-fiction alongside character that seemed to be trope inspired rip-offs I feel Alfhiem pales in comparison to Aincrad in every way possible. Although it sets up for the upcoming c I question rather I will watch the second incarnation as its formula is quite stale by now. But, like all new anime you have to wait and see.

As always, don’t take my word for it. I invite you to watch Sword Art Online on legal streaming sites like Crunchyroll or Netflix and submit your own opinion. If you are so inclined you may purchase the series on DVD or lu-ray via Rightstuf.. Thank you for your patronage and I am honored to give my service to such a wonderful community. Keep your browsers pointed to this bkog for all your anime needs.

Anime Review: Sword Art Online Part 1/2 (Aincrad)

 

I have been waiting to review this one for a while. In all honesty, I thought Sword Art Online had a lot of potential. After all , it was an inescapable Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game with perma-death. But much like its predecessor .hack I find that SAO suffers from its share of bugs so to speak. However, I find that the flawed aspects of Sword Art Online don’t detract from the overall epic feel of the anime. Also, given the fact that the series has amassed enough popularity to warrant its upcoming second season I thought I would put SAO through my personal gauntlet.

As many may have noticed  this is part one of a two part review.  It was out of necessity as the majority of the series takes place across two distinctly daffiest virtual worlds. An unfortunate second reason for this division lies in the drop in plot quality and character development during the second arc of the series.  Since the fluidity of the world is part of what makes Sword Art Online such a grand experience I would be remiss to judge both as one. Thus I choose to begin in SAO’s original setting of Aincrad.

Story:

The story of Sword Art Online revolves around Kazuto Kirigaya, better known as Kirito, a young gamer who was a beta-tester for Sword Art Online prior to the start of the anime.  But soon after the game’s official launch Kirito and thousands of other unsuspecting gamers come to the terrifying realization they were trapped in a death-game orchestrated by game’s megalomaniacal  creator Akihiko Kayaba. A solo player initially, Kirito quickly becomes one of the strongest players in SAO befriending many of his fellow players as he worked to clear the deadly MMO. Among these is Asuna Yuki a beautiful and talented swordswoman with whom Kirito becomes romantically involved.

This is where the anime begins to frustrate me as the aforementioned romance seems forced going from loathing tolerance to a literal in-game marriage within eleven episodes. While it is entertaining to watch these love-birds save each other time and time again I have to wonder how a relationship could progress so quickly even with the two year time skip. I might have been able to overlook this gaping plot-hole were they not the only characters who developed beyond their introductions While the story explains that many players do find love during their two year confinement the intensity of the romance between Kirito and Asuna seems forced and hallow in comparison to other anime couples. It is unfortunate that this the least vexing of Sword Art Online’s deficiencies.

The most irritating aspect of Sword Art Online lies within the character of Kirito . He is protected by a Superman-esque suit of plot armor that apparently allows him to level up from level one to level seventy in only a few episodes, withstand a pummeling from many enemies, one-shot bosses, gain an exclusive skill and even stave off certain death. While I understand that main characters have to win this McGuffin makes it far too easy. In the end of the arc I wanted to see Kirito lose. I liked him well enough but I couldn’t stand how over-powered he was.

If that wasn’t bad enough we have to contend with my least favorite ending of all time. The Aincrad Arc seems to end abruptly. It was as though the writers suddenly tried to give the SAO’s sadistic creator a heart mid-episode. I saw this as a cop-out. As you might surmise. I was extremely dissatisfied with this shameful attempt at an ending.

Style:

Despite the flawed story. Sword Art Online is aesthetically beautiful. Characters are very well drawn and the world is a detailed and vibrant setting. The fight scenes are polished and are among the most intense I have ever seen. Sword Art Online is stylistically light-years ahead of anything in its category. However style alone isn’t enough to distract from the previously mentioned problems.

Sound Design:

In a show like Sword Art Online sound design can make or break the experience be it subbed or dubbed. Aniplex of America hit the nail on the head when they selected Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh as English voices of Kirito and Asuna. Their stirring performances redeemed Sword Art Online for me creating a grand fluid experience. These voices combined with a mined-blowing orchestral soundtrack made an unbelievable audio-journey.

Conclusion:

While the Aincrad arc of Sword Art Online is somewhat flawed I found it enjoyable. I admit it is nowhere near the greatest anime of all time it is at least watchable. Usually I would give a recommendation as too where to buy the series, However I believe I will withhold this until the second part of this review. Expect the second half soon

A Note on My Hiatus

Hello Anime Fans,

It’s been about a month since my last review and I would be willing to bet your wondering where I have been. Unfortunately it’s not a funny story. Immediately fallowing my Dusk Maiden of Amnesia review my computer suffered  a hardware failure.  As this lift me no way to post without compromising my review style I was forced to go on hiatus. Fortunately, my computer is back and I am able to deliver a quality of review anime fans expect. Keep an eye out for new reviews and articles .