My Favourite Animes

Okay, so something you guys probably don't know about me is that I'm quite into my anime and have decided to share some of my favourites with you, so you can get to know me a little bit better. This was inspired by a conversation with my flatmates at uni where they asked me why I "still liked weird cartoons." That comment was quickly shot down, and now they all know never to refer to anime as that again. But anyway, through the conversation I realised how much I love them and remembered the memories I have of the times the anime represent in my life. 

Going through this list it may become apparent I prefer shoujo animation. Shoujo generally means a genre aimed at female audience, usually focused on relationships and typically drawn in quite a beautiful style with pretty female leads and attractive male characters. Ouran High School Host Club is a prime example of shoujo animation. Its counterpart is shounen, which is more of a masculine drawing style with more action and frequently more-convoluted plot, and good example of shounen are Naruto or One Piece. 

So my top four animes I've ever watched are as follows:
  1. Cardcaptor Sakura
  2. Ouran High School Host Club
  3. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
  4. Death Note

Cardcaptor Sakura (1998)

Sakura stumbles upon the Book of Clow in a library, accidentally setting the magical cards loose. It's now up to Sakura to catch them all with her best friend Tomoyo, and Keroberos, the guardians of the card (from IMDb). 

Cardcaptor Sakura was the first anime I ever watched and the one I grew up with. I have very fond memories of sitting in my grandparents’ kitchen watching this on TV after school while my grandma made me sandwiches and my grandpa was out tending to the vegetables in his greenhouse. It represented a much easier and innocent time in my life, so this anime has the nostalgia factor as well.

 At the time I didn’t realise Cardcaptor Sakura was anything different from a normal cartoon, but it was my favourite thing to watch. I always got very upset if I missed it, cause there was no way to watch an episode I missed and I never saw it being sold in any shops (I now understand why). I wanted to be just like Sakura; I wanted pretty clothes and to fly and have adventures. I also wanted a dog, and Kero kind of fit that role even though he’s more of a cat/tiger. I loved the animation and the world of Cardcaptor Sakura.

It stopped airing on British TV, and while I was initially heartbroken, I forget about it with time. I only rediscovered it when I had, or at least thought I had, just started getting into anime. I happened upon it one day, and I immediately recognized the characters. It was amazing to watch it from start to finish, to finally see how it ended. It was still as good as I remembered it to be, perhaps better now I really grasped the story. I was very pleased with how things ended, but I did prefer the ending of the manga I looked up when I started rewatching this.

Touya and Yukito (Tory and Julian in my childhood in the English dub) were two of my favourite characters and they were the first couple I ever actually shipped. I was so happy to see in the Japanese version they were much more open with the nature of their relationship, and felt pleased with myself I had picked up on it even though the story line had been removed for British audiences. Seriously though, why do that? Touya was also one of my first crushes as a young girl. Yes, I did fancy animated characters. Still do.  He joined the once-short list of Prince Philip from Disney's Sleeping Beauty and Dmitri from Fox's Anastasia. That list has now grown in numbers, but hasn't experienced much change in the appearance or qualities I look for.

Cardcaptor Sakura is an anime for a very shoujo-minded audience, and it is for kids. Of course you can still watch in if you're not a kid, like I frequently do, but if you want something with a lot of depth and older characters (Sakura and her friends are ten) I might suggest you avoid this particular anime.

Ouran High School Host Club (2006)

At the ultra-prestigious Ouran High School, Haruhi Fukioka looks for a quiet place to read and walks into an unused music room, and accidentally stumbles across the notorious Ouran High School Host Club, a group of boys who entertain the girls of the school for profit. When Haruhi accidentally breaks an expensive vase belonging to the wacky Host Club, she is made to serve under them until her debt is paid off. Haruhi is soon made a Host, but in order to pay off what she owes, she must continue to allow the Host Club's customer to believe she is a boy (from IMDb). 

I saw this anime when I was about fourteen, and at the time I thought it was the first anime I'd ever watched. My sister had been recommended it by a friend of hers who was very into anime, and my sister had then recommended it to me. Since I was bored, I decided to give it a go and I'm so glad I did. Ouran is a very strange and random anime, with a lot of very light-hearted and funny moments and a lot of cute boys. As I said earlier, Ouran is shoujo in a nutshell. 

There is a lot of depth to the characters in this anime, do not be mistaken by that. Yes, it may be about a group of rich boys who spend their time having tea with girls at their school for money but they all have their own problems and fears about the future. For example, Haruhi lost her mother several years ago and since had to raise both herself and her father who works as a professional transvestite (Ranka is awesome) or we have Tamaki, who is the son of a wealthy Japanese businessman and his french mistress, and he finds it very difficult to please everyone but tries very hard to always make people smile. There are many others complex characters, with relatable hopes and dreams, pasts and fears. I like Kyoya the best, as he's rather stoic and fits into my previously-mentioned list of men I like.

The storylines are a bit man, and some of the characters interactions are stranger than others. The anime takes some liberties with the original manga, but it's still very good and quite short with twenty-six episodes. It's enough to really get to know the characters and get into it, but it means once you have gotten into it it's snatched away too soon. But if you want something a bit quirky and fun, I would wholeheartedly recommend this. 

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (2006-2007)

The Empire of Britannia has invaded Japan using giant robot weapons called Knightmare Frames. Japan is now referred to as Area 11, and it's people the elevens. A Britannian who was living in Japan at the time, Lelouch, vowed to his Japanese friend Suzaku that he'd destroy Britannia. Years later, Lelouch is in high school, but regularly skips out of school to go play chess and amble on himself. One day, he stumbles on terrorist 11's who've stolen a military secret and is caught by a member of the Britannian task force sent after them, who is Suzaku. As the rest of the squad arrives, Suzaku is shot for disobeying orders, while the military secret, a young girl, gives Lelouch the power of Geass, which makes anyone obey any order once. While Suzaku is secretly made the pilot of Britannia's brand new prototype Knightmare, Lancelot. Lelouch becomes the masked Zero to lead the rebellion to destroy Britannia once and for all (from IMDb). 

Code Geass was something I discovered in my first year of university, and once I started it took me just two days to watch the complete fifty episodes of seasons one and two. I binge-watch things. So sue me. This anime was to expand my style of anime, as it is quite an action-packed and dark story line but it's still the style of anime I enjoy, so it's kind of a mix between shoujo and shounen which works well.

For some reason, I do like revolution stories and insights into how rebels convince people to join their cause and rise up with them. Code Geass is a very interesting take on a revolution story, where Lelouch transforms himself into a masked figure named Zero who becomes the face of the rebellion within Japan. Lelouch is very interesting as a character, because he is the anti-hero in a way. He is not helping the Japanese to break off the shackles of their Britannian rules out of the goodness of his heart; he has his own agenda and is just using the rebellion as a means to an end, and he doesn't care who he has to sacrifice on the way to achieving his aims. It is a very fascinating story, and the characters are incredibly interesting. The women are written particularly well and quite empowered, which is always nice to see. My favourite characters are Lelouch and Cece (or C2, as she's sometimes referred to, but the name Cece makes far more sense as a name). Cece is the immortal being who grants Lelouch the power of Geass, and she is quite a cunning character much like Lelouch himself. Kallen is also very good to watch, as she is quite a strong and determined young woman who joins the rebellion to genuinely help people, and is swept away by Zero's charms. 

This anime is the story of corruption and war, and therefore has quite a darker tone to most other animes I've watched. It is very serious, but honestly enjoyable. I haven't been able to get my hands on the manga, which is unfortunately, but I own this series and even as I write this I want to watch it again. If you want something interesting and fearing the anti-hero as the good guy, because the villains are just as bad, watch this. 

Death Note (2006)

An intelligent high school student goes on a secret crusade to eliminate criminals from the world after discovering a notebook capable of killing anyone whose name is written into it (from IMDb). 

Last summer, I wanted a new anime to watch and my sister had just finished Attack on Titan, so we had down to watch that due to her glowing recommendation. I was quickly bored of that, and found it very difficult to watch. I thought it moved too slowly and I could always predict what was going to happen, so there was no suspense. In the end, my sister turned it off and told me we were going to watch Death Note since I wanted something clever. 

Death Note is a very clever anime and very dark. The story follows Light, a high school student, who initially starts off as the good guy wanting to rid the world of evil but quickly spirals out of control when he goes insane with his new-found powers. A police detective known only as L is dispatched to catch him, and when these two brilliant minds clash it sets off a very important game of good versus evil cat-and-mouse. The anime follows this game, and their developing friendship as they work together on the force to catch Kira, which is the name the world has given to the being who seems to be behind the criminals as no earthy being could be pulling the strings of so many murders and leave no evidence. The way they keep trying to set each other up, trying to trap the other, while also becoming genuine friends is a very interesting thing to watch. 

Death Note is quite similar to Code Geass in terms of animation style and that the story focuses on the anti-hero, except from the very beginning it's clear Lelouch is using the rebellion for his own gain whereas for a while it honestly seems Light is trying to do good before he goes mental. Death Note is thirty-seven episodes long, and the story moves at the right pace for that span of time. When Near and Mello are introduced, they do represent a shift in the timeline and speed up the final conclusion which I very much needed after I cried at episode 25. If you ever watch it, you can probably guess who my favourite character was from my reaction to that particular episode. 

This anime is definitely not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of death and it is incredibly twisted. But it's captivating. I seriously recommend watching it, but it may be best to watch in as short a time as possible just so you remember everything that's going on.

I hope you enjoyed the little insight into my brain and maybe give these animes a go. Tell me if you agree or disgree with my choices. What are your favourites and why? 
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About Rachel Kelly

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