After my top 50 anime post and my character design post I thought I should make a list of anime that may have some of the character designs that put people off but that still was amazing enough for me to get over the visuals and just enjoy it. Here are a few anime you (probably) haven’t watched but really should.
Earth Girl Arjuna
Everyone goes on about how Madoka redefined the magical girl genre but most of them haven’t seen this beautifully deep anime. Arjuna has an odd character design, color toned in a way that makes it look cell shaded. Despite this it has a real message about the way we see the planet and the problems of interaction between people when it comes to family, love and even through learning. It’s a story about communication and how modernity has altered our view of the world. I’d be surprised if this trailer doesn’t catch your attention.
The massive eyes, the tiny noses and it has a similar style to the anime Hell Girl which almost put me off it by itself, that was an awful series. If it wasn’t obvious by the name this anime is about death and fittingly it has a gloomy atmosphere. There are some odd qualities to it such as the spirit world which really makes it something different but with it’s brooding nature it might not be for everyone. In fact this applies for the next series as well, which along with Rahxephon is the weirdest series I’ve watched.
Serial Experiments Lain
This is definitely not your usual anime. I mean you seriously have to think to even understand it. The blood in the shadows, the characters oddly lack detail and the background designs are as retro as it comes, the eyes are dead, the shapes are oddly empty. But my god, or lonely god in this case, this anime will open your mind. It’s cyber punk and when the boundaries between the ‘wired’ and the real world crumble the one who can manipulate the wired will become god. But being god is lonely business.
This is probably the one most of you would have already seen but it’s older now so it’s not as well known as it once was. I really hated its character design to begin with, the noses were massive and the faces had an odd amount of detail which seemed to restrict their movement. I pushed forward with the story because it was the most gripping thing I had watched in ages. If I had to recommend one anime for adults it would be this and as far as thrillers go this one does it completely right. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Now and Then, Here and There
The characters in this series are almost like a more cartoon-ish Miyazaki style, round mouths, round eyes and not much in the way of color shading. But despite its childish design this anime is dark. Post apocalypse is always a good setting and when you get kidnapped child soldiers, torture, soldier breeding eugenics and characters as young as eight being shot in the head you can see it doesn’t hold back. Being seen through the naive eyes of the the main character from our world it really hits home how messed up the world is and how indomitable this guy’s spirit is. I can honestly say this anime made me emotional, and has my highest recommendation on this list.
I was going to put Paranoia Agent but it turns out that most of Satoshi Kon’s work is actually reasonably well known thanks to his films. I’m sure I missed a few but if you can think of any that are good but probably aren’t as well known these days make sure to put them in the comments.