Note: Re-Posted this after changing the title to something more accurate.
After posting my Anime Recommendations Timeline I noticed there were a few from my previous Top 50 list that didn’t make it. Some of the more popular anime I kicked out like Haruhi and Hellsing was simply because I thought some of the newer series were better. Others were anime that didn’t really fit into any of the categories and were ones I wouldn’t really want to recommend to my readers because they were actually pretty average and everything I thought made them great was entirely based on personal preference without any outside acclaim to back up my opinions. For this reason, I’m going to list them here so I have some record of the anime most think are average but that I thought were great.
90s Anime like Speed Grapher, Gungrave and Trigun are what I like to call “Anime similar to but no as good as Cowboy Bebop”. People may argue that Trigun should have 2nd place here but, as I said above, this list is about my personal preference. When I watched this anime I hadn’t watched one of those cool crime anime for a while and so it felt like a satisfying throw back to a style that has been brought back with newer anime such as Black Lagoon, Jormungrand and the 2015 anime, Gangsta, which I’d just finished watching before writing this post.
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.
This is another example of a prequel done well and I would go so far as to say this OVA is superior to the original anime or even the films that come after it. For how old it is, Trust and Betrayal has animation that puts Ghost in the Shell to shame, it’s just fucking beatiful. It’s historical fiction setting was what got me into Japanese history but the drama and romance almost put me off it all over again. If anyone’s ever interested in Rurouni Kenshion either watch this or read the manga because the original anime falls for all the anime tropes as every dragged out shonen anime.
Gankutsuou is an anime adaption that tells the tale of the young man forced to deal with the backlash to the story of The Count of Monte Cristo. The adaption adds a fair few changes to the original story but not any for the worst, the least of which being the changing of the very genre from Historical Fiction to Science Fiction. Including the yet to be repeated anime style being a mix of CGI and wallpaper tones, coming into the original story in-medias res as well as changing the role of the main character, these alterations give a fresh take on a classic story and makes it one hell of an addictive anime.
Cowboy Bebop wasn’t a fluke. Samurai Champloo is brilliant, counteracting his style of old jazz music with a future space age setting with modern rap music in an old Chanbara setting. Once again the characters were excellent, the action was excellent and it wasn’t just a copy of Cowboy Bebop either. Not only this but after watching this series I realized that Watanabe had a ‘feel’ to his work, an atmosphere that allows watchers to really get to know different dimensions to his character that really appealed to me.