In my last post I talked about the rather depressing side of anime with not being afraid to drop series. So now I’m going to talk about the greatest moments I’ve experienced while watching anime. Sometimes it’s just a single scene combined with your own over-the-top reaction to it. Sometimes it’s because you’ve just watched an episode so perfect you couldn’t imagine that you’d ever watch anything as good as that ever again. Or sometimes it’s something on a more personal level. I’m sure you have those moments and I dare say you can probably already pick a few off the top of your own head. So for now, I’m going to list out my top 10 moments that reminded me exactly why I love anime so much.
Since I cut it down to 10, theres a few I left out. The delight while re-watching Cromartie to realise that’s it’s exactly as funny as a remembered it to be. Those weird dreams I would have after watching Haibane Remnei. The ‘Alleujah Beam’ in Evangelion episode 22ish that resulted in one of the most surreal sequences I’ve ever seen. But I had to cut it down to 10. This post has almost 2000 words as it is.
10: Last Exile: OMG, IT’S EXILE
Sometimes you don’t realise how much you’ve gotten into a series until you’ve started acting like you’re taking part in it. Like when you get really into a first-person shooter game and you try to arch your neck to look over a wall without moving your character on the screen at all. Well, the most obvious and slightly embarrassing time I did this was while watching Last Exile, around episode 22 when it was acting out its own version of a submarine face-off in the sky. The entire ship was told to be as quiet as possible while one of the crew listened through her magic trumpet to see if she could hear the rhythmic thumping that signalled that they had found the enemy ship, Exile. So the entire ship went quiet with only the constant buffeting wind the ship. Then I could just about hear something in the background. Leaning closer to the speaker (it never occurred to me to turn it up) I could hear it. That sound that sounded slightly like a slow heartbeat. And so I, not wanting to speak too loudly, said in an excited whisper ‘it’s Exile!’. It was only then did I realise what a fool must have looked like but for that moment, I was completely absorbed by the anime. I know it’s a corny trick Last Exile pulled but I fell for it like the big gullible fool I am.
9: Death Note: Penultimate cliffhanger
It may shock and even offend some of you, but the first time I watched Death Note was in English dub on Adult Swim. In fact it wasn’t even on Adult Swim, not living in America. I was watching it from some guy who posted them totally illegally on the internet. Anywho, it had reached the penultimate episode after what has to be said to be a rather poor run of episodes by Death Note standards. I was really hoping Death Note would pull off an ending to save itself, even though I knew what was going to happen in the end (blasted spoilers). I don’t think I was quite prepared for what happened in the last 5 minutes of that episode. The explanation of the plan on both sides, the painful countdown that started. I was curved up, L style, in a nervous wreck watching those last few seconds until…’looks like I win Near’ and BOOM, the episode ended. Never have I screamed so much at a monitor in crazed frustration, even more than that time in football manager when my team inexplicably threw away a 3 goal lead. The craziest thing of all? I managed to wait til next week to watch the last episode and didn’t cave in and watch the subbed. I was quite proud of myself for that.
8: Pale Cocoon: Just…Pale Cocoon
Sometimes when you finish a series, you have that series so fixed in your mind that you can’t actually bring yourself to dedicate time to watch something new. Certainly not something that has 26 or even 13 episodes. So instead I decided I would watch something short as a cleanser between series. You know, something to wash away the taste of the last dish so you can properly enjoy the next one. That didn’t go to plan when I decided to watch Pale Cocoon. While it did totally succeed in blowing the other anime out of my mind completely, it also left no space whatsoever for anything else to enter my mind for the rest of the day. In fact I did eventually watch something else new that week. I watched everything else ever made by Studio Rikka (this didn’t take long) and to top it all off, I watched Pale Cocoon again…and again…and again.
7: Hetalia: The remarkable popularity of Hetalia blog posts
This time I’m taking a little step away from the episodes themselves and taking a look at what’s become a large part of my anime viewing experience: blogging. There are painful times when blogging when you spend ages typing something up and it gets about 20 views, no comments and quickly disappears into obscurity. What’s a bit remarkable is that some of my Hetalia posts started out like that. In fact, it wasn’t until about episode 26 that commenters started to appear more regularly. The hitcounter for these posts continues to rise, the amount of regular commenters also continues to rise, and that’s not even half of it. As a blogger you can see where people have linked back to your post on forums and I’ve seen myself quoted on Hetalia forums. I’ll write a post and when I return 12 hours later it’s generated 20 comments. While it’s far from being my favourite anime, I’ve never had more fun in blogging than I have writing my Hetalia posts. So readers, comment moar! It makes us feel loved :)
6: Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood: I sealed it with Fire!
To prove that anime still has the capability to wow me, let’s take the greatest example from this year. Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood was eagerly anticipated before it ran but when it did, many people complained about it. It basically rehashed the first half of the series except with far less attention to detail and far more short jokes. Now a certain amount of this is down to selective memory (yes, there really was that amount of short jokes in the first season) but a lot of the criticism shot at it was perfectly accurate. That is what made episode 19 extra special. Not only was it one of the greatest episodes you will ever see, but it finally marked the moment when Brotherhood could stop living in the shadow of its predecessor and be considered a great anime in its own right. What makes it even better is that this episode wasn’t just a once off, practically every episode since then has been amazing.
5: Ghost in the Shell: That wasn’t the Laughing Man?
The Laughing Man story. If Ghost in the Shell was simply one large story about the Laughing Man, it would sit firmly in my top 5. Those episodes were filled to the brim of plot-twists, speculation, mystery, uber-hacking skills and solidified that famous logo of the Laughing Man in everyone’s minds (Even if you haven’t seen the series, you probably seen that logo before haven’t you). However there’s one scene in particular that I’d like to pick out *SPOILERS FOR GHOST IN THE SHELL*. It was at the end of episode 24. The Laughing Man had just had his long conversation again with that man he had threatened all those years ago. However just before the end, we saw the Laughing Man walk off, take off a mask to reveal the Major. That simple 5 second scene left me with a reaction that sounded something like “wait, what but who was, then she was, but then and he wasn’t, but she took and now…wow”. How one simple act could reveal so much, Ghost in the Shell sealed itself in my heart with that one scene.
4: Cowboy Bebop: Episode 12 and 13
It’s a classic. A timeless great that will be considered a staple for any anime fan for decades later. It arguably the greatest anime ever, with so many people around the animesphere agreeing to its awesomeness. And yet it takes an awful long time to actually become that good. The first 7 or so episode are not actually very good, the Heavy Metal Queen episode in particular sticks out in my mind as a rather poor episode indeed. Around episode 8, the anime started to improve drastically, especially with the inclusion of Ed. However it wasn’t until the double episodes of 12 and 13 (oddly enough, these were practically Ed free) that it finally hit me why Cowboy Bebop is considered a classic. Culminating in that song at the end, these two episodes are one of the best pieces of anime I have ever seen. Maybe it’s the 12/13 episode charm. If I remember correctly, the best double episode in Darker than Black was the Yin episodes around that point.
3: Mushishi: The One-Eyed Fish
Taking things to a more personal level this time. Because I played a lot of sports at school, I never hung out with the nerdy kids. Hence, I never had any nerdy friends to share my anime viewing experiences with. Luckily, around the same that I started to get into anime, so did my sister. In order that we didn’t fight over who’s turn it was on the computer, we watched a lot of anime together, starting off with the original FMA. She also has her own MAL account and while we have fairly similar tastes, there’s only one anime we both have rated a 10: Mushishi. We started watching it together until around episode 10 when she went off on a summer camp and I went off on holiday. Both of us continued to watch Mushishi while away and after 2 weeks of not seeing each other, guess what the first thing we said to each other was. Not a stupid brother sister argument, not an awkward hello. The conversation went something like this
Me: Did you watch Mushishi?
Together: ONE EYED FISH!!!
2: Code Geass: Season One episode 22
What actually inspired me to write this post was a comment (left on a Hetalia post obviously) by ExecutiveOtaku discussing this very scene. It’s one that anyone and everyone will remember their reaction to it. Did you clutch the screen, yelling at it? Did you curl up in the fetal position, whimpering ‘it was all going so well’? Did you scream, sitting bolt upright in your chair and start throwing stuff in random directions? The greatest plot twist ever. Bar none.
1: Death Note: The Rush
There are plenty of flaws with Death Note. I know that and anyone who says otherwise is a fool. And yet Death Note still sits at the top of my list as my favourite anime of all time because of The Rush. The Rush is hard to explain. It’s like a feeling of pure euphoria that bursts and flows throughout your body in reaction to the awesomeness that’s happening on-screen. It makes you feel elated, like you’ve just taken off a heavy bag after a 4 mile walk and you feel like flying. Some other anime have managed to replicate this feeling, such as Code Geass, Baccano, Eden of the East and Ghost in the Shell, but it’s Death Note that this feeling was the most prevalent during. I call it The Rush. It’s a drug known as Anime.