Sara’s Anime Picks

My American beau and his family are celebrating Thanksgiving (I’m still in Canader), so I thought I’d write a light-hearted post. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I rarely watch anime anymore, so there are plenty of series I haven’t watched, but I thought I’d write about some of my all-time favourites.

Itazura na Kiss

This 2008 anime is based on the 1991 shoujo manga series by Kaoru Tada. It’s a romantic comedy about a highschool girl’s fight to be with her crush, who is apparently waaay out of her league—-she’s in the bottom of their grade and he’s the top of the class. It’s a cute series, but sometimes it’s hard to watch the fixation she has on the guy she loves—-reminds me of how stupid I was in highschool!

Saikano (Saishuu Heiki Kanojo)

I haven’t seen this series in a long time, but I remember really loving it. The art is adorable and if I remember correctly, the series is only 13 episodes long.

Fushigi Yuugi

This series has a special place for me because it’s the first anime series I watched–sort of my gateway drug into anime. I think it was the first time I saw a girly heroine. The main character, Miaka, cares about boys, clothes, and all sorts of other “girly” things, but isn’t stupid or completely useless. I’m a big fan of Yuu Watase’s work; she combines shoujo themes with some pretty great action sequences. Although it’s nice to have a very feminine main character at the center of a story, I wouldn’t consider Miaka a terrific role model. She’s completely obsessed with leading man, Tamahome, and has an unsettling fixation with eating (isn’t being skinny but constantly obsessing with eating large quantities of food a warning sign for a eating disorder?). Also, I’m not comfortable with the main premise of the story—-since Miaka is the Priestess of Suzaku importance is placed on her remaining a virgin to satisfy the god of Suzaku. And so, it was nice to be exposed to a girly main character back when I was still a tomboy, but the series isn’t exactly an example of a story that empowers women.

Ayashi no Ceres

Another Yuu Watase series, but this time, there is an element of critique towards the impossibly high standards when it comes to the portrayal of love and relationships in storytelling. A lot is said about the treatment of women in what the series has to say about masculinity.

Rurouni Kenshin

This shounen series is another one of my “firsts”. This series has some of the most beautiful fight sequences in anime (although they can be frequently interrupted with monologues). Kenshin is a great character and the series has a nice story. It’s a bit long at 95 episodes, but to be honest, I lost interest in the mid 60s when the the first story arc ends and then stops following the plot of the manga. There’s a weird second arc about some lame Christian character—-he’s not lame because he’s Christian but because he’s sort of another Battousai, like Kenshin, and is trained in the same style; this was pretty much the key plot point of the first story arc with Kenshin’s nemesis Shishiwhatever-zombieman. Dudeman, if you’re a Kenshin fan don’t send me angry emails—-you know just as well as I do that long-haired crucifix man is boring and redundant.

Lovely Complex

This series is just adorable and hilarious and you should watch it!

Peach Girl

I loved this series—-OH NO WAIT, I forgot…I hated hated hated this series. This series is frustrating horrible fluff. Horrible fluffy CRACK. I don’t know why I couldn’t stop watching and ended up seeing the entire series. The ending made me hate it even more. Arrrgh~! I dare you to watch all 25 episodes of crappyness. Look, Funimation offers an even more annoying version online—-the entire series, translated into an annoying dub.


All girls need NANA. This is the motto of the series’ website. This is absolutely my favourite series. Storytelling at its finest! The creator, Ai Yazawa, is a genius of character and plot development. It has a very honest feel about it. I find quite often that many anime series make an attempt to be meaningful and mature storytelling simply end up feeling pretentious. Either that, or they layer the plot with absurd amounts of symbolism so they can impress fans in a post-modernesque faux-academic manner. NANA doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not—-anime, after all, is entertainment. But it entertains while presenting its situations and character interactions in a wonderfully believable manner. Yazawa has a knack for making you relate to her characters. With the incredibly successful manga still ongoing, the anime awaits a second season.

Anime I’m still planning on finishing:

When I do find time to watch some anime, I continue to watch Honey and Clover. I remember liking but not finishing Skip Beat and would really like to finish Paradise Kiss, another Yazawa title. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave it in the comments.

2 Responses

  1. Tweets that mention There Are Four Lights » Blog Archive » Sara’s Anime Picks -- Says:

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  2. bertman4 Says:

    I would suggest “Angel Beats!” which had an interesting premise, good story with lots of twists and turns, off beat characters, and great music.

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