Anime Recommendations and Open Thread

(I Will Become the Pirate King t-shirt on sale at the NeatoShop)

I watch more anime than is medically advisable and, every few months, make viewing recommendations and ask for yours. Let's do it again!

Of all the new series I've tried this season, the most striking is Orange, a romance with a tragic ambiance. Naho, a high school student, recieves a mysterious letter. It contains instructions from herself, written 10 years into the future. A crisis is coming--one that will impact herself and her friends forever. She can change the future.

Or can she? It seems simple enough, but Naho finds that altering the present isn't easy. She has less control over the wellbeing of her friends than she thinks.

In Planetarian, it has been 30 years since the collapse of civilization in some mysterious apocalyptic event. Kuzuya, a scavenger, explores the remains of an abandoned shopping mall. He's looking for food and other essential supplies. But what he finds instead is Yumeni, an android girl who works at the planetarium.

She doesn't understand why no one comes to her facility anymore or that the projector doesn't work. But her naive and carefree manner charms Kuzuya, who decides to repair the projector so that they can again see the stars circling over a ravaged Earth.

Amanchu! is a slice-of-life romance about Hikari, a girl obsessed with scuba diving, and Futaba, a sad, lonely girl that she drags along on her undersea adventures. Futaba doesn't want to get involved with scuba diving, but she finds Hikari's unbridled joy in everyday life irresistible.

Like many slice-of-life shows, Amanchu! moves at a slow place. That's good, because it's totally effective. Like Futaba, we the audience find ourselves lured into and enchanted by Hikari's world.

91 Days could be a long time to survive for a bootlegger in the Prohibition-era United States. Avilio comes to the city of Lawless to sell his product, which is top-grade alcohol. He wants to make money...and to get revenge. In this fast-paced action story from the 1920s, he's sure to make a killing.

In Alderamin on the Sky, five talented young people are journeying through the empire on their way to take the officers' exam. War is coming and they're prepared to fight. But none of them think that Ikta, who is napping in the above image, has what it takes to be a good soldier and leader.

Through their adventures, Itka proves them wrong. He's lucky and clever. It's a shame that he doesn't know when to shut up, though.

Seigi was always a fighter. He just never had the body or the talent to do it well. Still, in Taboo Tatoo, he steps in when he sees thugs attacking a homeless man. The homeless man rewards him with a magical tattoo, then disappears. This tattoo gives Seigi incredible combat abilities--if he can activate and control it.

Other characters arrive to see that he can and is prepared to face the dark forces that want his tattoo. Seigi will see a lot of fighting. And the scenes in which he does are so visually stunning that they almost leap out of the screen.

That takes care of the current summer season. I tried additional anime series from the spring season and was pleased to find a few that were highly enjoyable. My favorite is Flying Witch, which I watched at the suggestion of Neatorama commenter azog. It's a slice-of-life show about a teenage witch who lives in a small town. There's no plot across the series, but it's charmingly irresistible. Makoto and her friends go through everyday life tasks, from making small spells to cooking dinner. Watching it makes me want to jump into their world.

One aspect of the show that is particularly nice is that all of the settings are based on real locations in the city of Hirosaki. You can see photographic comparisons here, here, and here.

In 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army establishes an espionage agency. Joker Game is collection of spy stories about the escapades of these spies around the world. The best and the brightest young men are sent on dangerous missions. And in spycraft, missions and the people in them are not always what they seem. Sudden plot twists abound in this historical thriller.

An urban legend passed around the internet speaks of Nanaki Village, a secret and mysterious place where people can start their lives over again. A collection of psychologically damaged people who desperately need a new start on life board a bus to go there.

The Lost Village is reminiscent of the American TV show Lost. Strangers find themselves struggling to survive in a new place where they can't trust their senses or reason to guide them correctly.

Of all the animes that I have watched, I've never seen one with as psychologically richly developed characters as The Lost Village. Although the series has problems elsewhere, the unique but highly realistic characters make this series a must-watch.

If I did not have responsibilities elsewhere, I would have binge-watched all 24 episodes of Gate, an anime that aired last year. The gripping story begins with a mystical portal opening in Tokyo. Out of it pours an army of armored knights, dragons, and other mythical beasts. They kill hundreds of civilians before the Japanese Self-Defense Force crushes the invasion.

The Japanese government decides to send a JSDF expeditionary force through the gate to find out what is on the other side. Like the American TV show Stargate SG-1, this anime is contemporary military fiction. It's non-stop action in a mysterious world just beyond our own.

What anime series or movies do you recommend watching?

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I'm glad you were able to enjoy Flying Witch. Daniel Kim above me mentioned Sweetness and Lightning, and even tho he may not have seen it, it's at the top of my favorites right now. The premise may seem a bit pokey, but it's a lovely story of a single father with his kindergarten daughter. Seriously, at least twice episode 3 I had some tears in my eyes. Not wailing and gnashing kind of grief like Re:Zero likes to induce, but just seeing their relationship and an honest portray of a 6 year old ish child really brings out the emotions.

If you want a WTF cute three-minutes of your life, there's also Bananya. As a cat lover, I had to toss that one in...
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Gate and its sequel are really great. There's some interesting tension there, because of Prime Minister Abe's current program of increasing Japanese militarism. The show is fun to watch.

Flying Witch is also quite good, if you like 'slice of life'. Very calming and slow . . . or boring.

A new show is "Sweetnes and Lightning"
I have not seen any episodes, yet, but it is well recommended and sounds really fun. Synopsis from Crunchyroll:
Kohei is a single father and high school teacher who lives with his only daughter. A chance encounter brings him together with Kotori, one of his students. The three of them start to meet together to make meals. None of them know how to cook, but they all love delicious food! ”sweetness & lightning” is a heartwarming and fun experience that you're sure to love!
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Twin Star Exorcist
Assassination Classroom
My Hero Academia
Terra Formars
Ushio and Tora
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
One-Punch Man
World Trigger
Dimension W
God Eater
Heavy Object
....just to name a few...
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