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Old 2007-06-26, 12:58   Link #1
Theowne
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Love, Friendship, complex characters, etc

Well, summer's coming and I have time to view more anime I have found that scanning through anime databases never helps much, because descriptions don't necessarily tell you the quality of a series. There have been series which have sounded simplistic and cliched in descriptions but then turned out to be very interesting, well-made series.

So basically, I 'm just looking for some people with similar ideas to show me some anime that is well-made, with good characters and plot. It could be light-hearted, or inspirational, or it could be heavy/tragic, as long as it is made well and really affects the viewer. Something like the Ghibli films comes to mind as an example. Or, look at something like Honey and Clover on the series side of things. But I'm not asking for "other romance/comedy" or anything like that, which I guess separates this from other suggestion requests. I just have a general request. Something that leaves you thinking about it even when you're not watching it. I miss having that feeling during a series.

Basically, I want something anime that is done exceptionally well, and leaves an imprint in your mind. The genres I prefer are slice of life, or romance, friendship, etc, but again, it doesn't really matter if it fits the criteria I listed. Genres that I am less interested in are action, pure comedy, or the ecchi/harem type thing that has become so common.
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Old 2007-06-26, 13:08   Link #2
mdauben
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Well, the first thing that comes to mind after reading your request is the fantasy anime Haibane Renmei. It combines beautiful visuals and a facinating story with themes of friendship, guilt and redemption and really made me think.

Another title that clicks with the "good characters and plot" request might be the scifi anime Planetes. It's a character-driven story, with elements of action (although not too much), romance, and personal growth. Again, some great visuals just put the icing on the cake.
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Old 2007-06-26, 15:25   Link #3
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REC- slice-of-life, romance and one that gives it to the tee about real life
Suzuka- another that is drama/romance and leaves thinking about how you do things when in relationship and in life.
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad- deals with friendship and how to stick together and get along and it's about music with a up and coming rock band
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Old 2007-06-26, 15:47   Link #4
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Quote:
Something that leaves you thinking about it even when you're not watching it. I miss having that feeling during a series.

Basically, I want something anime that is done exceptionally well, and leaves an imprint in your mind.
The problem with looking for series like those is that you usually can't tell if it's gonna be like that unless you finish the entire series. Anyway, my contribution to the list:


Series:
Gunslinger Girl
drama - 9.5
subtlety - 9
action - 8.5
grey matter stimulation - 8.5
memorability - 10
Mushishi
drama - 8
subtlety - 9
action - n/a
grey matter stimulation - 8.5
memorability - 9.5
Haibane Renmei
drama - 8.5
subtlety - 9
action - n/a
grey matter stimulation - 9
memorability - 8
Saikano
drama - 10
subtlety - 5
action - 8
grey matter stimulation - 6
memorability - 8.5


OAVs:
Pale Cocoon
drama - 8
subtlety - 8
action - n/a
grey matter stimulation - 8.5
memorability - 9
Hoshi no Koe
drama - 10
subtlety - 8
action - 8
grey matter stimulation - 8
memorability - 10
The Place Promised in Our Early Days
drama - 8.5
subtlety - 8
action - 3
grey matter stimulation - 8
memorability - 8.5
Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal
drama - 10
subtlety - 8.5
action - 9.5
grey matter stimulation - 7
memorability - 10


drama -> emphasis on emotions
subtlety -> effective use of minor details and audiovisual ambiance in delivering /reinforcing the story instead of using narration or explicit/obvious clues, inversely proportional to exaggeration and the "spoonfeeding factor"
action -> not necessarily involving fight scenes
grey matter stimulation -> how much effort is required to comprehend the story and potential for moral/philosophical/intellectual discussions
memorability -> how much they get stuck in your head long after watching them
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Last edited by G. Zeus; 2007-06-26 at 16:19.
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Old 2007-06-26, 17:18   Link #5
Theowne
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Quote:
The problem with looking for series like those is that you usually can't tell if it's gonna be like that unless you finish the entire series.
Exactly, that's why I think it makes more sense to post this request on the suggestions board and get advice from real people, rather then try to guess what will turn out to be a great anime based on searches.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.
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Old 2007-06-26, 19:09   Link #6
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I'll throw a few out, it'd be nice if you could list a few you've seen too so we know what not to recommend.

Nana
I think it adequately covers all the categories listed in the topic title, with some good comedy to boot.

Canvas 2
At first glance it can be mistaken for a harem, but it's really more of a love triangle. Certainly not the greatest series I've ever watched but it's enjoyable and has the added bonus of a really controversial ending, fun to discuss with people if you're into that sort of thing.

Gungrave
I know you didn't like action as much but I think this is an excellent series about friendship, loyalty, and, to a lesser extent, love, that gets overlooked a lot. It does have a quite a bit of action and the first episode starts off with a bang (timeline is a bit out of order) but it might surprise you. (also if you make it to around episode 18, I think, and start to get a bit put-off; stick with it, the ending is well worth it.)

Mind Game
This one might be a stretch because it's very strange and it really has to be experienced, it's just too hard to describe.

I'll also second RK: Trust and Betrayal, you don't really need any knowledge of the tv series since it's a prequel and it's very well-made, a beautiful love story you probably won't forget. (Not to mention it's the #1 rated anime on ANN )
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Last edited by The Russian Mob; 2007-06-26 at 19:25.
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Old 2007-06-26, 20:09   Link #7
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If you're looking for love, friendship, and complex characters, then Kimi ga Nozomu Eien has all of that...and more. It has the element of surprise, from the first episode until the very end. I can assure you that this anime will be on your mind when you finish it.

Spoiler for first episode of KimiNozo:


Suzuka is basically a complex triangle, square, pentagon, and more of love and friendship, but mostly hate. If this is your kind of anime, then go for it.

The Place Promised in Our Early Days is really a romance drama but that drama isn't really about the romance. It's very original plotwise, animation-wise, and mood-wise. There's no comedy unless you're sick, twisted, and evil. This anime was just beautiful.

Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal was for me that best combination of romance and action. There's nothing funny about this anime either, but I would suggest that you see Rurouni Kenshin first up to episode 63 if you want more background. Although Trust and Betrayal is a prequel to Kenshin, I think that it makes more sense to watch Kenshin before but it's still good on its own.

Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora is another romance drama where the drama isn't entirely intertwined with romance. For the billionth time, there's nothing funny about this anime either, and this time I really mean it. I know I'm just a depression person who watches seriously anime but hey, it's a good, short anime with no fantasy but rather...realistic drama.

Last edited by KholdStare; 2007-06-26 at 20:10. Reason: Hantsuki
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Old 2007-06-26, 20:14   Link #8
Asai
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Lamune comes to mind as an excellent slice of life romance/drama and quasi-harem (though not really a harem since everybody knows the two main chars are 'together') it was really quite an exceptional series.
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Old 2007-06-26, 21:02   Link #9
Theowne
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Quote:
I'll throw a few out, it'd be nice if you could list a few you've seen too so we know what not to recommend.
Whoops...

Well here are the major ones I have seen and would say are good, the ones with the asterisks beside them I would place at the highest:

Every Ghibli film *
Honey and Clover 1&2 *
Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien
Saikano
Aishiteruze Baby
Elfen Lied
Nodame Cantabile
Now and then, Here and There *
Kare Kano *
NHK ni Youkoso
Koi Kaze

Of course I've probably forgotten much, but that's what I remember.

It'd probably be helpful to list what I didn't like as well. I never finished these usually, so perhaps I didn't watch enough to get into it (and tell me if that's true). But I was never really into Kanon (2006), because I felt the female characters were childish, and it was almost condescending towards them. There was a similar vibe with Lamune (though I've been told a lot about this, so maybe I should revisit Lamune). I didn't like Nana all too much, because I disliked the characters, and the interactions and drama felt pretty shallow and soap-operaish. Tell me if I just made the wrong first impression.
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Old 2007-06-26, 22:09   Link #10
mcl2008
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^these are really good suggestions. i will check them out for sure....
thanks!
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Old 2007-06-26, 22:43   Link #11
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Ditto on REC .... and oddly, My Friend Totoro has a lot of underlying textures of goodness.

Lovely*Complex is turning out to be pretty interesting but its still in progress.
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Old 2007-06-26, 22:54   Link #12
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Bokura ga Ita seems to be in your ball park, so I highly recommend that.

I'll say "seconded" to Gungrave, even though it's action, but it has a strong cast of complex characters and outstanding drama, and nothing is trivialized or black-and-white. Red Garden is also another strong action/drama piece that deserves acclaim.

I think you've seen most of the other slice-of-life drama that I'd recommend (or, like BECK, they've already been mentioned in this thread), but if you're up for the long haul, I'd recommend Maison Ikkoku.
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Old 2007-06-27, 02:57   Link #13
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Is Maison Ikkoku available as a sub? or is it licensed? I keep having trouble making my way through the manga (long story) and thought perhaps the anime might wire my brain in the proper way
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Old 2007-06-27, 06:28   Link #14
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hm....how about Kyoshiro Towa no Sora, it has fantasy, romance, and action!
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Old 2007-06-27, 07:35   Link #15
Sorrow-K
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Is Maison Ikkoku available as a sub? or is it licensed? I keep having trouble making my way through the manga (long story) and thought perhaps the anime might wire my brain in the proper way
It is licensed, but being quite old, I'd imagine it'd be hard to find (almost impossible where I live). Haven't read the manga myself, but from the incredibly mixed reports I've heard, it seems that the anime is better than the manga. I guess it's worth a try... I'd actually be a little surprised if you didn't enjoy it, knowing your tastes.
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Old 2007-06-27, 13:05   Link #16
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Kanon 2006 is an anime full of complexities, originality, drama, a dash of comedy and a spray of romance. ^_^
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Old 2007-06-27, 13:39   Link #17
4Tran
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Anyone who's interested in slice of life shows should check out Figure 17. While about a third of the show of the show is devoted science fiction action, the rest of it follows Tsubasa and Hikaru's day-to-day lives in rural Hokkaido. Figure 17 is also unique in that it has 46-minute episodes; this extended length allows a much more relaxed pace than normal - allowing both plenty of character moments to go with the plot. Given that it's about young children, Figure 17 doesn't have all that much romance, but there's still tons of love, friendship and a palpable emotional edge to the whole thing. Overall, I think that it's one of the more touching anime ever made.
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Old 2007-06-27, 14:03   Link #18
Matrim
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Friendship, memorable, with complex characters? How about:

Simoun - it might look like one initially but it's not an action series with some yuri to spice things up, it features many interesting characters and has a lot of touching moments whose impact is greatly enhanced by the OST.

Red Garden - slice of life combined with zombie killing and highschool drama sounds like a recipe for disaster. Let's just say it's anything but that.

Haibane Renmei - emotional rollercoaster anime at its best.

And I have watched about a third of Bokura ga Ita but it really seems like something that needs to be mentioned in this thread.
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Old 2007-06-27, 18:12   Link #19
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BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad- It combines the elements of friendship with music to create a kicka** anime.

I also second all the films from Studio Ghibli. All of their movies make you think and affect you in some way.
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Old 2007-06-27, 20:12   Link #20
Theowne
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I should say again that I've seen every single Ghibli film in existence (well, unless you count the shorts), though thanks for suggestions Looks like Haibane Renmei will be my first pick.
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