Top 50 Anime Series of All Time
50. California Crisis
California Crisis is on this list to represent my love of “terrible” 80’s OVAs– those 30-50 minute direct-to-VHS shows that cram a hell of a lot of plot into a minute amount of time. It almost always results in a story wrought with plotholes and inconsistencies, and I love that shit. This is the sort of stuff that made my love anime in the first place– where you have to make up half the story in your head in order for it to make the least bit of sense. I miss that sort of stuff, and I get annoyed by how many current series err in the exact opposite direction by over-explaining everything. Crisis also has an awesomely anti-climactic ending that does a hell of a job of symbolizing everything I love about these OVAs. It’s a shame that current trends don’t allow for more stuff like this to be made.
49. Macross: Do You Remember Love
I’m not a huge fan of the Macross franchise. I dig Macross Plus well enough, and I probably like Macross 2 more than most hardcore Macross fans (Although that’s not saying much since I just kinda tolerate it since I saw it at an early stage in my anime career.). I also never really developed a love for Robotech since I don’t remember it getting any kind of regular airplay on local stations when I was a kid. But I love the movie rendition of the story. I distills everything that’s good about the TV series, gets rid of all the tedious bits, and amps up the right things to ridiculous proportions. The final battle, set to Minmay’s horrifically cheesy and awesome pop tune, is one of the greatest anime action scenes of all time, and it still looks better than almost everything that’s come after it.
48. Ga-Rei Zero
If it weren’t for the first episode, Ga-Rei Zero would be a generic, if watchable, action show. But damn is that first episode brilliant. If you haven’t watched it, go watch it now. Yes, now. Done watching it yet? Whether you loved it or hated it, there’s no denying that it got your attention when everyone died. That first episode started to set everything up in a very traditional manner. We’ve seen this shit before (Although that one chick’s motorcycle with mantra treads was fucking awesome.), and we could see exactly where all of this was going– right up until when they got picked off one by one by the real star of the series. It’s like watching Star Wars if it began when Anakin killed all the younglings, except we actually got to see the slaughter after we got to know the kids. That episode ranks up there as one of the greatest single episodes of all time, and it’s that episode that earns Ga-Rei its spot on my list.
47. Read or Die
Crazy super hero spies tracking down a dude that’s resurrecting dead geniuses and using their zombified corpses to kill everyone on earth, and the main chick has the power to manipulate paper the same way Green Lantern manipulates “willpower.” It’s all sorts of over-the-top, and it pulls it off with a 60’s spy show flair rarely seen in anime. It’s all about style as substance, and that can be a beautiful thing when pulled off as awesomely as this. Shame the TV series is dreadfully boring until the last few episodes. But let’s pretend that doesn’t exist and heap all our love on the OVA.
46. Urusei Yatsura
Rumiko Takahashi is the greatest sitcom writer of all time. Lum’s scenario isn’t quite as awesome as Takahashi’s other series on this list, Ranma 1/2, but it may be even crazier than that shapeshifting martial artist mess. It has one of the first “magical girlfriend” stories in anime, with Lum forcing herself upon Ataru after a game of tag with planetary consequences. And in that first episode Lum managed to undermine every “magical girlfriend” anime before they were ever made. It may get a little tedious after awhile, but that’s easily averted by not marathoning the damn thing. Sitcoms were made to be watch an episode or two a week. It’s all about getting a few laughs in, not about engaging the viewer with characterization or storyline. And Lum’s one of the best when it comes to the sitcom formula.