My favorite anime
"What are your favorite anime?": This is one of the questions I am asked most often on Instagram. For this reason I have decided to create a list of my favorite anime (plus a small final bonus), so that you can consult it when you feel like watching something beautiful (at least according to my taste) - I have also written about my Japanese films favorite and controversial here.
As you will notice, they are practically all titles that have a certain age: as you well know I am a great fan of Japan in the 90s, the historical period to which I am most linked (together with the beginning of the 2000s) and the one that forged the my imagination on the Rising Sun, as well as being my favorite decade of this nation - I've talked about it here and here.
In many of these productions are also represented typical Japanese foods, entered into the imagination of each of us: I talked about it here.
アキラ by Katsuhiro Ōtomo (1988)
It is one of the most celebrated and recognized cult anime of Japanese animated cinema, as well as one of the major international successes that allowed the export of anime to the West in the late 1980s.
Akira is a mature, complex, political and historical product: the plot develops following the Third World War in Neo Tokyo, the protagonists are rival motorcycle gangs. Visually incredible, thanks to the use of innovative special effects for the time.
Among other things, its enormous success has produced countless citations over time by the most varied artists.
宇宙海賊キャプテンハーロック by Leiji Matsumoto (1977-1979)
Is there perhaps a more melancholy and iconic anime than Captain Harlock? In my opinion this is the supreme masterpiece of the master Matsumoto, a spatial concentration of complex human themes, which transcend the limits of history and time, an iconoclastic, fantastic and moving work of art. Also not to be missed is the manga, to be jealously preserved.
Curiosando nei cortili del cuore
by Ai Yazawa (1995-1996)
If you don't know about my boundless love for Ai Yazawa sensei you are new to this blog! Yazawa san is definitely one of my favorite mangaka, her contribution to mass culture through her art and fashion is undoubted - I wrote about it in a long article here.
Curiosando nei cortili del cuore is a very sweet anime that narrates the scholastic events of Mikako Kōda and Tsutomu Yamaguchi. They both share the dream of becoming fashion designers, as do their greatest friends. An anime about friendship, love, dreams and projects, all treated with sympathy and represented with the unique and inimitable drawing style of Yazawa sensei.
ウボーイビバップ by Shin'ichirō Watanabe (1998)
Cowboy Bebop came to Italy thanks to MTV, which broadcast the series as part of the Anime Night. It is a science fiction anime, set in space, and which follows the events of bounty hunters.
This title is one of my favorite philosophical souls, a trend that took shape in Japan in the 90s and that puts all the most difficult issues of social problems in the foreground (such as loneliness, resignation, alienation and boredom) typical of that decade. Here everything is represented with a retro-futuristic aesthetic, hints of cyber-punk and numerous references to techniques and recurrences of typical cinema style (fans like me will be enchanted) such as the Mexican stalls (so loved by Quentin Tarantino) and slapstick.
Galaxy Express 999
銀河鉄道９９９ by Leiji Matsumoto (1977-1981)
Like all the products of the master Matsumoto, this one also characterized my childhood and my imagination as a child.
Year 2021, space trains advance into the galaxies: the Galaxy Express 999 is the train of hope. Maetel, the iconic character of this immortal anime.
Ghost in the Shell
攻殻機動隊 by Mamoru Oshii (1995)
The animated film of Ghost in the Shell is based on the manga of the same name and tells the story of the major Mokoto Kusanagi in a 21st century dominated by nano-technology, robotics, hackers and information technology.
A cult sci-fi detective that has made school - but beware of the movie with Scarlett Johansson...
Nadia - Il mistero della pietra azzurra
ふしぎの海のナディア by Hideaki Anno (1990-1991)
A fascinating and mysterious anime (like all Anno san productions), it tells the story of the acrobat of the circus Nadia and Jean, a boy with a passion for engineering, aboard the Nautilus submarine.
It is a series inspired by an original subject by the master Hayao Miyazaki and takes its cue from the works of Jules Verne, mixing steam-punk aesthetics, ideas taken from the works of Leiji Matsumoto (Captain Harlock and The battleship Yamato) and many mythological references.
―ナナ― by Ai Yazawa, diretto da Morio Asaka (2006-2007)
In my opinion, Ai Yazawa's most important and significant work, as well as the best known and most appreciated all over the world.
Whether you are passionate about music, fashion and love affairs or not, this is simply an unmissable masterpiece. I won't go any further because I have written a long and complete monographic article on the author with respect to Nana, Vivienne Westwood and punk here.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
by Hideaki Anno (1995-1996)
Is this my absolute favorite anime of all time? Most likely yes.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is the concentrate of everything that most attracts and fascinates me about Japan, as well as a philosophical, social and political cross-section of the Rising Sun of the 90s - I talked about it here with reference also to NGE with respect to the hikikomori phenomenon.
Complex, enigmatic, visionary and avant-garde, Neon Genesis Evangelion is very complex and difficult to summarize in a few lines, which is why in my opinion, to better appreciate this simply unique work, you should have notions of literature, esotericism, religions, robotics and biology .
It is an anime of difficult access, you will have understood it, but all its beauty lies in its extreme complexity. Cited countless times especially in movies and video games, NEG is undoubtedly a leader.
Furthermore, I am a huge fan of the last two episodes of the series (in this regard there is a great controversy between fans and detractors), as well as having total admiration for the master Hideaki Anno.
I am sure that somewhere you have seen the protagonists of this anime (Shinji, Rei and Asuka are all cult characters): if you haven't seen it yet, I strongly suggest you fix it. If you love Japan, you can't help but love Neon Genesis Evangelion!
パーフェクトブルー by Satoshi Kon (1997)
If you have read my article on my favorite Japanese films related to controversial themes of the 90s (find it here) then you certainly know how much I love this animated film.
Mima Kirigoe, the protagonist, is an idol who wants to leave the world of J-Pop to become an actress but, right in the phase of her career change, she is constantly contacted by a stalker.
In a climax full of anxiety, many uncomfortable aspects of Japanese society are touched, such as the fixation for famous people who are still extremely young, crimes related to the web, the exploitation of young talents (especially women) by the majors and television.
らんま½ by Rumiko Takahashi (1995)
Who hasn't seen an episode of Ranma 1/2 at least once in their life? Hilarious, funny, sometimes even controversial, this anime is a brilliant and ingenious caricature of traditional Japan (with all its related stereotypes) set during the late 1980s. To die for laughing!
美少女戦士セーラームーン by Naoko Takeuchi (1992-1997)
Could Sailor Moon be missing from this list? Obviously not!
Perhaps the most famous anime in the world, has united and made several generations dream and, despite the years, it still remains a wonderful, timeless and appreciative series.
I wrote a very long monothematic article on Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi sensei and high fashion here.
At the end of this list of my favorite anime, I wanted to add a final title that is not really an anime (in the sense that it is not Japanese and was not made by a Japanese author), but still had space in my Favorite Asian animated series in my youth.
by Peter Chung (1991-1995)
Made by the Korean American animator Peter Chung, Æon Flux was initially born as a series of animated short films of the Liquid Television program (broadcast on MTV) before becoming a full-fledged animated series.
The story is set in 7698 following an environmental disaster that destroyed the entire planet with the exception of only two cities: in this context the secret agent Æon Flux moves.
I do not recommend watching the US film with Charlize Theron ...