(Photo: You Lie in April t-shirt on sale at the NeatoShop)
It's the end of the world as we know it, which is why I watch anime instead of the news. I've watched a lot in the past few months. So, as usual, I will tell you some of the best and ask you, dear readers, to recommend other titles.
Erased (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi) is the greatest anime I have ever seen. I recommend it for not only anime fans, but also to non-anime fans.
Anime is like beer. You either like it or can't understand why anyone would consume it. Erased, however, is an anime perfect even for people who don't like anime.
It's a thriller and murder mystery. The main character is Satoru Fujinima, a 29-year old failed manga artist. He finds himself thrown back in time to when he was 10 years old. Back then, his peaceful childhood was upended by a serial killer who murdered several young girls in his town, including some in his own class.
Satoru realizes that he has a chance to find the killer and stop him. In the body of his 10-year old self, he sets out to do precisely that.
Erased is an original story with an unpredictable plot and vivid characterization. The suspense in every episode demands eager anticipation of the next episode. It is brilliantly written and directed.
The world of Ajin: The Demi-Human is a lot like ours. There's just one difference: there are a small number of immortal beings called ajin. They look like ordinary people. You could be one and not even know it.
Ajin are not considered human. They're psychologically and physically indistinguishable from ordinary humans, but society treats them like they're subhuman objects.
Immortal human-like things are useful, particularly for medical experimentation. After all, you can subject an ajin to anything and he'll come back to life if you kill him.
Kei is an ordinary teenage boy--or he thinks he is. Then, one day, he gets hit by a bus and killed. He immediately comes back to life and realizes that he's an ajin. So does everyone else who sees the accident.
Kei starts running. That's good because all of Japan is now hunting for him.
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!, which is called Konosuba for short, is a fantasy series similar to Overlord and Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon? A teenage boy named Kazuma who likes to play fantasy role-playing games dies in a very stupid traffic accident. For his afterlife, he is sent to live in a fantasy RPG as an adventurer.
That's his literal profession. Kazuma even has an official character sheet and acquires skills and quests as though the conventions of role-playing games are real. It's like living with the fourth wall permanently down.
Kazuma gradually gathers a band of other adventurers, all of whom are quirky misfits who couldn't fit in anywhere else. They are surprisingly successful.
Konosuba is a funny, engaging anime that is not groundbreaking, but is consistently entertaining.
I stumbled upon Actually, I Am (Jitsu wa Watashi wa) by accident. I'm glad that I did. It's a funny harem anime about a teenage boy who learns that one of his classmates--one whom he has a crush on--is a vampire. That normally wouldn't be a problem, but Asahi can't keep a secret. He's a jittery bundle of anxiety who is notoriously unable to conceal his emotions.
But Asahi has to because he promised Youko, the vampire, that he would. And he loves her, too.
The challenge grows for Asahi because he learns more secrets about the lives of girls in his school. He has to keep them secret, as well.
I found Asahi to be an especially relatable character, mostly for the reasons captured in this particular scene.
When I ran out of current anime that interested me, I looked toward older series. In my explorations, I discovered Strike Witches. So far, I've watched only the first 12-episode series. There are several sequels, so I have plenty to do in the near future.
Strike Witches is an alternate history of World War II reminiscent of KanColle. In 1939, aliens called Neuroi invade the Earth. Nothing can match their ships except for a new invention: the Striker. This is a pair of propeller-carrying legs. Witches have the ability to fly these highly maneuverable devices.
It's now 1944 and the witches constituting the 501st Joint Fighter Wing in southern England look over the English Channel at Neuroi-occupied Europe. They alone can halt the alien conquest of humanity in this action-packed story.
So until the next season of anime comes out in a couple weeks, I shall be busy with Strike Witches. What about you? What anime do you recommend watching?