Anime Recommendations! Part 1

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Looking for a new anime to check out? Well look no further! We have compiled a list of some anime series we think you might enjoy watching. Anime Recommendations! Part 2 has been added.

Have a look:

Air Gear

This series takes place in Japan, following student and delinquent, Itsuki “Ikki” Minami, also known as “Babyface” of his gang the “East Side Gunz”. Within their world, the characters have access to specialized two-wheeled skates known as “Air Treks”, “AT” for short. What makes these AT so special, is the four kilowatt miniaturized motor within both wheels, allowing them to reach great speeds and do unbelievable, gravity-defying stunts. “For Air Trek riders, there are no boundaries, the world is their road, and the sky is the limit, climbing higher and higher to the heavens themselves”.

Experienced riders may either compete professionally, or join a Storm Rider team, essentially a gang of riders who compete with other Storm Rider teams in specific competitions where they battle for parts, and glory. Ikki has a run-in with a local team named the Skull Saders; they humiliate him. Upon returning home, where he lives with four sisters, he discovers a room in the house containing ATs and parts. Curious, he puts on a spare set of ATs and heads out. Not long after, he falls in love with them and they become his sole focus; nothing else matters to him.

It doesn’t take him long before he learns just how vast this world is. Shortly after acquiring his ATs, Ikki unknowingly participates in the Parts War, the central focus of all Storm Rider teams. He is coaxed into a rematch with the Skull Saders. When participating in the Parts War, riders may compete for parts, or the other teams emblem; should a team lose their emblem, they must disband. Without knowing this, Ikki accepted the challenge and endangered the Sleeping Forest team by betting their emblem. Ringo, Ume, and Mikan show up after realizing Ikki took their spare ATs and their teams emblem to ensure Ikki wins. After the race, Ikki asks them about their team, to no avail; the sisters refuse to talk about it.

Ikki quickly recruits his two friends Kazu and Onigiri to the world of AT. While advancing his skills on ATs, Ikki recruits two more members to his team, Buccha, and Akito/Agito, a boy with a split personality. They name their team Kogarasumaru and embark on a journey to become the greatest riders ever. With ATs that allow the rider to scale buildings, leap great distances, and perform special abilities, Air Gear is an awesome show full of comedy, action, and ecchi humor that we recommend to all.

There is currently an OVA released which is covers the battle between Ringo and Ikki in volume 16 from the manga. Additionally, a second is set to be released on March 17th, 2011 to feature the battle between Kogarasumaru and the original Sleeping Forest from volumes 24 and 25 of the manga. You can find more on the Air Gear: Break on the Sky OVAs in the link.

Afro Samurai

Taking place in a feudal yet futuristic Japan, Afro Samurai combines insane swordsmanship with rocket launchers and cyborgs. A very interesting combination for sure, but so awesome. In this world, it is said that the one with the Number 1 headband is the greatest fighter, and has godlike powers. Naturally, this causes many to seek the Number 1 headband, however, only the Number 2 may challenge him. As a result, the wielder of the Number 2 headband is constantly attacked and lives a very dangerous life.

Rokutaro, the current Number 1, is challenged by Justice, the current number 2. The battle is ended when Justice decapitates Rokutaro and claims the Number 1 headband. His head rolls in front of his son, the young Afro vows revenge for his fathers demise.

The series follows the Afro Samurai as an adult as he traverses the feudal Japan wielding the Number 2 headband to the mountains where Justice resides. As the wielder of the Number 2 headband, he is targeted daily by bandits, assassins, thugs, and an organization called the “Empty Seven Clan”. They send various skillful agents to try and claim his Number 2 headband. At one point, Afro must even fight a robotic version of himself. His childhood friend Jinno, presumed dead, is also hunting down Afro out of vengeance. This show is full of gore and action. Though it is only has 5 episodes, it is packed full of ridiculous fight scenes as this master swordsman splits an RPG that is fired at him in half.

Several years after the show was released, a movie was made. Afro Samurai: Resurrection continues the story of Afro after the events on the anime. As a side note, another reason this show is awesome is because Samuel L. Jackson is the voice actor for the Afro Samurai. Check it out, it is a pretty great show.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Water, Earth, Fire, Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished.

This opening narration sets the scene for this amazing show. Within the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, there are fantastic hybrid animals, regular humans, and those who are gifted with the ability to control the elements themselves. These benders may only control the element of the nation they are born in. By using various martial arts, the benders manipulate their element to their will, giving them awesome power to protect, and destroy. Each nation is centralized around a specific element, the Fire Nation, the Earth Kingdom, the Water Tribes, and the Air Nomads. Though a bender may only harness one element, there exists a being with the power of all four elements whose sole purpose is to protect the balance of each nation. This is the Avatar. Whomever this person is, they are reincarnated after their death, with an infinite number of life cycles. Keeping the theme of a balance of the nations, the Avatar will be born into a different nation each cycle.

Unfortunately, late in the previous Avatar’s life, the Fire Nation’s Fire Lord Sozin, lifetime friend of Avatar Roku, betrayed him and ultimately sought global domination.  Knowing that the next Avatar was to be born to the Air Nomads, Sozin annihilated the peaceful tribe, leaving only one alive. This sole survivor of the onslaught was Aang, the current Avatar and protagonist of the series. But, when the world needed the Avatar the most, Aang froze himself in a block of ice. In his campaign, with no Avatar to interfere, Sozin accomplished his goal and severely weakened all of the nations. After his death, Sozin’s predecessor, Fire Lord Ozai, continues the nations lust for power. 70 years later, two siblings of the Southern Water Tribe, discover Aang and befriend him. As the last remaining Air Bender, Aang must restore balance to the world.

But before Aang can challenge the Fire Nation, he must first master all four elements. He is an amazing Air Bender, however, he has no experience with fire, earth, or water. Katara, the last Water Bender of the Southern Water Tribe, and Sokka, a rather interesting individual, join Aang in his quest to become the Avatar that this world desperately needs. The series contains seasons wherein they cover Aang’s excursion to master a new element. The first season is Book One: Water. As the season title proclaims, Aang trains in the ability of water bending. In Book Two: Earth, and Book Three: Fire, Aang trains in each respective element. The Avatar, however, has a special ability which triggers in dire situations. This is the Avatar State. When entering this form, the Avatar is endowed with the knowledge and abilities of all past Avatars. This ultimate form does not appear often, but when it does, it is truly epic.

The show is full of comedy that some may claim to be childish, however, their humor is actually pretty hilarious. Sokka is literally the comic relief character as his wacky antics and personality lighten the show with unending hilarity. But when the situation is serious, Sokka becomes serious and focuses on the situation. Overall, with the aspects of humor, light romance, and great battle scenes, Avatar: The Last Air Bender is a great anime which attracts audiences of all ages, despite it’s slightly childish aspects. We recommend this show to anyone, it’s great for kids, and awesome for mature viewers.

The creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender are currently working on a spin-off series taking place at least 70 years after the conclusion of the original series.

You can get more info on this series in this link. Avatar: The Legend of Korra.

Bleach

Bleach is currently one of the most popular series in both America and Japan, and for good reason. Ichigo Kurosaki was a typical high-school student in Japan except for one thing: he can see souls of the departed that have not passed on. One day, he comes across a “hollow”, a dangerous transformed lost soul, attempting to devour the soul of a young girl. Just as the hollow is about to attack him, a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki appears out of nowhere and cuts the hollow down. Soul Reapers are charged with the task of protecting the living and their souls from hollows. Wielding powerful katana called “zanpakutou” and incantations known as “kidou”, soul reapers have existed for thousands of years protecting the innocent from the shadows, as they cannot be seen by humans.

Rukia appears in Ichigo’s room one night searching for a hollow; she does not know Ighico can see her. To her surprise, he kicks her and begins to question her. After a brief explanation of who and what she is, she binds him with a kidou and performs a “konso” on a “whole” spirit in his room. It is a ritual of sorts, where the Soul Reaper sends spirits who were unable to move on after dying to the Soul Society, a place of rest for the departed. The power level of Soul Reapers and Hollows are measured by their “reiatsu” or “spirit energy”.

Shortly after the konso, another Hollow attacks Ichigo’s sisters. Rukia is preparing to engage the beast when Ichigo manages to break free of her paralysis spell, much to her surprise. Ichigo taunts the Hollow into attacking him and as a result, Rukia intervenes and is critically wounded. With no other options to defeat the demon, Rukia explains to Ichigo that it is possible for her to transfer some of her spirit energy to him, making him a Soul Reaper and giving him the power to slay the Hollow. Without hesitation, Ichigo accepts the offer, taking nearly all of her reiatsu in the process, and immediately upon becoming a Soul Reaper, he obliterates the Hollow with ease. Because her power is essentially depleted, she informs Ichigo that he must do her job in the meantime, that is, protecting the town from Hollows and sending souls to the Soul Society.

It is a serious crime in the Soul Society to do what Rukia did to Ichigo; and it does not take long for other Soul Reapers to come and take Rukia back to stand trial for her crime. Ichigo challenges the two reapers in an attempt to stop them. First, he squares off with Renji Abarai, and actually does fairly well, having had no formal training. The other reaper, Byakuya Kuchiki (Rukia’s brother) intervenes. Byakuya seems to teleport behind Ichigo in his attack, which cuts his zanpakutou in half and leaves him fatally wounded on the ground. Ichigo is in shock. Byakuya belittles him and doesn’t care enough to finish him off. They leave, taking Rukia with them. Ichigo is hellbent on rescuing her, but first, he must train. His long journey begins as he sets out to save her with help from his friends, humans with special powers. This series has over 300 episodes and is still ongoing, you will not get bored; save for a few filler arcs.

Claymore

In a fictional world where cognizant monsters named Yoma coexist with humanity, there is an organization which has created half-human, half-yoma soldiers to hunt down and exterminate yoma which terrorize humans, for a large fee… Yoma feed on the entrails of humans and are abnormally strong, some of which have special powers. These protective warriors are dubbed “Claymores” by the humans, named after their swords.

They have also been called “Silver-Eyed Witches” for their appearance and cold nature. Within the organization, the Claymores are assigned a rank, from 47, based on their strength and ability. The Claymore named Clare is the main character of the series; she is Number 47. Given the circumstances in which she was created, she is the weakest of them all.

In the beginning of the anime, a Claymore is requested by a town which suspects a Yoma in their midst. Clare arrives to dispatch the demon. She meets a boy names Raki and senses he may have unknowingly been in contact with it. Later, Raki is attacked by the Yoma, who has eaten his mother and his father, Clare arrives to save his life. He then decides he wants to join her on her journey as she travels from town to town slaying Yoma, as there is nothing left for him here.

Though the power of a Claymore is awesome, it is equally dangerous for them to harness the demonic power within them. Their appearance begins to change according to how much of the power they draw out. At 10%, their eyes turn gold, at 30% their faces change, at 50% their bodies begin to change, and may resemble that of a Yoma. A Claymore is most susceptible to being overcome by the power when exceeding 80%. Should this happen, the Claymore will be consumed by the power and become what is known as an “Awakened Being” or “Voracious Eater”. Should this occur, it would take an extremely powerful Claymore to defeat an them. A Claymore is female, as when a male is hybridized with a Yoma, they typically awaken exceedingly faster than females.

Over time, it may become more difficult for a Claymore to maintain control over their power. If they sense they may be overcome, they typically request a fellow Claymore to kill them before they awaken. To die while still resembling a human. This series is pretty great to watch as Clare trains herself and grows in strength, unlocking new powers and passing limits.

Death Note

Death Note may not be full of fantasy or awesome fighting scenes, but who says a show needs that to be one of the most popular shows of all time? Death Note is all about intellect, outsmarting the opponent in the most intricate ways. Light Yagami was a very bored high school student and the top of his class. He seems like a lazy slacker, but really, this kid is a genius. One day at school, he notices a notebook outside. After class, he begins his commute home, however, he sees the notebook again. Curious, he picks it up. On the cover, it reads “Death Note” and inside, a list of rules and a kind of “how to use” list. The note claims to have the power to kill anyone, by simply writing down their name in the note while having an image of the target in mind. Light scoffs and figures it to be a rather in depth prank. His curiosity gets the better of him and he takes it home with him. Little does he know, his life is about to change forever and he will tread a very dangerous path…

As Light continues to read the Death Note in his room, he actually seems impressed with the detail the “prankster” put into the “prank”. As a very logical person, there’s no way that it can be for real, right? Light has a strong sense of justice, so when temptation overwhelms him, he must test its validity; but there’s no way he could kill an innocent person. Because of his righteous ideals, he decides to write the name of a criminal in the note. There is a hostage situation broadcasting on the news, the suspect’s identity is known and his picture is shown to the viewers. Light decides that this person will be his first test. According to the rules in the Death Note, after writing the name of a person, after 40 seconds, the person will die of a heart attack. Somewhat interested, but still in disbelief, Light writes down the name. He watches the news while counting down 40 seconds to prove the note is real. When the time is up, nothing happens… at first. Suddenly, there is action on the news, they report the assailant has died. Light is in shock and disbelief. He has to test it one more time…

As Light is a genius, he decides he must not kill anyone he knows, or that could trace back to him. While this surreal concept of the Death Note festers in his analytical brain, Light finds himself inside a convenience store. Outside, a girl is assaulted by a biker gang. As they taunt her and threaten her, Light silently watches from inside the store. The leader grabs the girl and one of his goons calls out his name.  As the note claims that the user may write a cause of death for the target, he nonchalantly writes down the name of the leader of the goons; and that he will be hit by a truck. Not long after initiating this supernatural attack, the girl escapes his clutches and runs. The leader chases after her on his bike and almost immediately after taking off, a semi obliterates him. Light is in awe: the Death Note is real.

This series is based on psychological warfare between Light Yagami and his antagonist, simply known as L. As Light continues to cleanse the world of evil, it does not take long for the Japanese citizens to realize that there is a serial killer amongst them. They dub this killer Kira, after the Japanese pronunciation of the English word Killer. The Japanese police form a special Kira task force solely devoted to finding and stopping this murderer. L is another prodigy who devotes all of his time to catching high-profile criminals for the police forces across the world. He teams up with the Japanese police to uncover the mystery behind Kira. These two masterminds continually battle each other while Light remains “innocent”, as he manages to elude suspicion the best he can. Though Death Note is not very comical, it does not need to be. You will be on the edge of your seat as Light narrowly escapes being discovered. You will be in awe when you witness just how intricate and unbelievably detailed Light’s ability to remain hidden is. Watch Death Note, you shall not be disappointed.

Elfen Lied

This 13 episode series takes place in Kamakura, Japan. A new species of sorts is discovered: the Diclonius. Though similar to humans, there is a difference at the genetic level. Specifically, the Diclonius have a protrusion of horns and extra, invisible hands known as “Vectors”. They vibrate at super high speeds allowing them to cut through flesh and solid objects. The show is very gory and intended for a mature audience as the Diclonius wreak havoc tearing humans apart.

Normally, the Diclonius would probably have ended up friendly if not for the unfortunate upbringing of the first Diclonius and main character of the story, Lucy. She grew up constantly being made fun of due to her horns. Having no real friends at all, Lucy came across a stray dog whom she befriended. One day she showed her “friend” so long as she promised not to tell anyone, needless to say, the secret was not kept. Several bullies snatched her dog and brutally killed it in front of her; this triggered her first killing.

Lucy kills without empathy or concern and somewhat sadistically as she effortlessly severs her victims limbs before ripping them apart. She is eventually captured and sent to a facility on a nearby island for experimentation. When the series begins, she manages to escape the insanely secured building, casually walking through gunfire and mutilating the guards in her way. Unfortunately, as she makes it outside, she is taken down by a .50 BMG round which ricochets off the metal casing on her head. This shock causes Lucy to develop an alternate, childlike personality with an infantile knowledge of the world. She has completely forgotten what she is or how to manifest or use her vectors.

Two local residents Kohta and Yuka, cousins, find Lucy on the shore and agree to take her in. They decide to call her “Nyu” because it seems thats the only thing she can say. They take care of her because she is otherwise helpless. She is of course still being hunted by the organization that has held her captive for so long and throughout the series, Special Assault Teams go after her as well as other Diclonius and a SAT trooper, Bando. When Nyu, who is incapable of violence, is confused by violence or hit in the head, she reverts to her foil, Lucy, the sadistic murderer, however, unaware of her actions.

As mentioned, this show is very gory and as such probably shouldn’t be watched by kids and contains some nudity. But it’s mature nature makes is awesome and recommended, so check it out!

Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward and Alphonse Elric are a pair of genius brothers well experienced in the science of Alchemy. Alchemy is a science in which the alchemist can break down matter and shape it to their will, creating to their design. However, like everything in this world, this seemingly all-powerful art has rules. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost, in other words, an alchemist can not create from nothing, material is required for transmutation. Ed and Al live by this law, believing it to be the world’s one and only truth. In order for an alchemic reaction to occur, a precise transmutation circle must drawn out, varying in design based on each individual transmutation. Though the power of alchemy is grand, playing god has it’s consequences, should the user abuse the art. The brothers will soon realize this fact.

Abandoned by their father, Van Hohenheim, Ed and Al live with their mother in the small town of Risembool. All is well until Trisha succumbs to an illness which inevitably takes her life. Stricken with grief over the loss of their mother, they decide they will use their alchemy in an attempt to bring her back to life, committing the ultimate taboo: Human Transmutation. Any alchemist knows that this act is forbidden, knowing that there has never once been a successful attempt. But Ed believes it is possible, that maybe those who have come before him just got it wrong; whatever the case may be, they train their skills to revive their mother. They gather all of the components that make up a human body, down to the last chemical or mineral. Ed draws up a very complex transmutation circle and all that remains is the final ingredient: the soul. Ed and Al add a drop of their blood to the mix, believing that is sufficient material for a soul and they begin.

Shortly after activating the circle, everything seems to be going well, however, this short-lived hope does not last. Ed comes to realize why human transmutation is tabooed as his reaction takes a turn for the worse. Alphonse entire body is consumed by the reaction, along with Ed’s left leg. In fear of losing his brother forever, Edward willingly sacrifices his right arm as material to bind Al’s soul to a nearby suit of armor. Narrowly escaping with their lives, the brothers finally realize it is impossible to bring back the dead. Not long after he is fitted with an Automail arm and leg, advanced prosthetic limbs, they now set out in search of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, which will grant the wielding alchemist the ability to create from nothing, to ignore the laws of equivalent exchange. They seek only to restore their bodies to their original state, but they will soon learn just how evil their world is and why seeking the Philosopher’s Stone is called “the devil’s work”.

We highly recommend Fullmetal Alchemist to anyone; longtime fans of anime and newcomers alike. The 51 episode series even has a concluding movie to go with it, Conqueror of Shamballa. Give it a try, don’t discount the show until you have seen it for yourself.

For an in-depth review of this amazing series, check out this link.

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