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doctorwu 2006-02-28 18:24

Long-time fan looking for hidden/not-so-hidden gems
I've been into anime since I was in high school and am now almost through my undergrad years. (Yikes.) I recently discovered Fantastic Children through this forum, a series that I enjoyed but had never heard of. I hope other viewers will be able to help me a find a few more great series (new and old) that I may have overlooked. I've already seen all the huge classics and screened the big titles of recent days (i.e. Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, Saikano, Bleach, Trinity Blood, etc) so please keep that kind of suggestion to a minimum.

The YES-list -- fast-moving plot, compelling characters, original dialogue. Any genre, era or "situation" acceptable as long as plot, characters and dialogue are clever, fun, and at a high standard.
Cowboy Bebop; Now and Then, Here and There; Elfen Lied; Blood +; Eureka 7; Juuni Kokki; Tide-line Blue; Full Metal Panic (all 3); Full Metal Alchemist; Gakuen Senki Muryou (Licensed title Shingu - Interstellar Wars); Escaflowne; Madlax; Tsukihime; Starship Operators; Fantastic Children; Crest of the Stars series; Noein; Zettai Shounen, Kyou Kara Maou, Samurai Shamploo, Shakugan no Shana

The NO-list -- break-breakingly slllloooooow plot, or worse yet plot that makes no sense, or worst of all, anime with no resolution. No cookie-cutter characters, flat-out "fight" anime with little/no development, or anime meant only to fill the void in a lonely otaku heart. I am not a 21 year old male virgin*, I'm a chick getting too old and lazy to put up with bull ;)
Inuyasha, Naruto, Bleach, Basilisk, Mai-Otome, Technolyze or Monster**, Onegai Teacher, Shuffle, Sakura etc

* No offense meant to the demographic of 21-year-old male virgins. I know a few, and they're very wonderful people ... just hornier than I am.
** Technolyze and Monster are good, just too dark, and too ... perhaps avant garde for my tastes.

snakespm 2006-02-28 19:20

I found Angel Heart to be a pretty good series. There is some nudity (or should i say lack of cloths) but IMO it was fairly tastefully done. Its fairly interesting, kinda dark (not near as dark as monster). I would discribe the plot, but honestly i wouldn't do it justice. Anyway, good luck.

Juan Valdez 2006-02-28 19:46

Hmmm... you seem to like action/scifi kinda shows the most. Unfortunately, all the best ones I can think of in that category are licensed. It's probably because those are the most appealing to American anime audiences, so they get snatched up fast by US distributors. But still, here's a few worth checking out if you haven't seen them.

You'd probably enjoy "R.O.D. (Read or Die) - the TV". It's quick paced, has interesting characters, and a very original and unusual story. Seeing the Read or Die OVA might help understand some of the character's backgrounds better, but it isn't a requirement to enjoy the show.

"Last Exile" is another show that you'd probably enjoy. It's a steampunk/scifi kinda setting. Beautifully animated. Compelling (if somewhat convoluted) story. Characters you actually care about. It's some good watching.

"Paranoia Agent" certainly has the compelling characters and gripping plot part down. It's not very actiony, but thatís forgivable seeing as how the story is so engrossing. You might have caught this one on Adult Swim, but if not I highly recommend it.

"Speed Grapher" is one of my favorites of last year. It's dark and moody with an interesting story, but it sorta falls into the "bad guy of the week" type plot progression. It was licensed recently and isn't available on DVD yet.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. Many of the shows I watch are the types of shows on your "no" list :)

doctorwu 2006-02-28 20:36

Thanks for super-quick responses so far!!

snakespm -- The blurbs for Angel Heart looks kinda interesting, I'll check it out.

Juan -- I have actually seen/screened all of your suggestions ... R.O.D. TV was charming, if occassionally a little disjointed; Last Exile is a very pretty show, but a bit slow on development IMO; Paranoia Agent was a little overdramatic for me; and Speed Grapher was fun -- probably the most fun for it's Duran Duran OP ...

I am right near a great anime rental store -- so please do not hesitate to suggest licensed materials, as I can probably try them (legitimately, AnimeSuki, don't burn me at the stake) for cheap.

Other, non-action shows that might help guide genre suggestions -- Hana Yori Dango, Paradise Kiss, Love Hina, Utena, Aishiteruze Baby and the ultra-cheesy, guilty pleasure Rose of Versailles are favorites of mine.

I would appreciate more suggestions if anyone has ideas ;)

YoshiZumi 2006-02-28 21:55

Here's a few suggestions.

Rozen Maiden-This one has a first and second season. The first is licensed but the second is available on fansub. Very nice show about dolls duking it(sounds immature but it's much deeper than that)

Vandread-A mecha/sci-fi/action with a nice twist. It's the battle of sexes in space.
Very very entertaining show.

School Rumble-A lot of laughs here on this title. A wacky school life comedy series.

Fruits Basket- A school life comedy show with a very dramatic twist.

GTO(Great Teacher Onizuka)-A show about a yankee gangster that because a teacher. Very funny and interesting.

You should read up on the these titles before renting or downloading. Enjoy!

Juan Valdez 2006-02-28 22:24


Originally Posted by doctorwu
Thanks for super-quick responses so far!!

Other, non-action shows that might help guide genre suggestions -- Hana Yori Dango, Paradise Kiss, Love Hina, Utena, Aishiteruze Baby and the ultra-cheesy, guilty pleasure Rose of Versailles are favorites of mine.

So you like shoujo romances (Hana Yori Dango, Aishiteruze Baby, etc) but dislike shounen romance shows (Suzuka)? And you like Love Hina but say you don't want "anime meant only to fill the void in a lonely otaku heart"? I'm kinda stumped.

Well I suppose you've already seen it since you're pretty well versed, but if not go rent Kare Kano (His and Her Circumstances).

What else...

Rumiko Takahashi Anthology - Not your typical series. Each episode is its own independent story. Not particularly deep but good lighthearted plots with likeable characters. A fun diversion.

Mermaid Forest - Another one by Rumiko Takahashi. More action oriented. Very dark. Not at all like her other work.

Those two seemed to have slipped under most people's radar.

Then there's movies-
I like everything from Satoshi Kon: Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers. Good plots, compelling characters... everything you need, nothing you don't.

Also check out Mind Game. It's not licensed but it's not on Animesuki either. I can't even put this into words. It's something else. Experimental, Indefineable, defies classification.

Anyway, I hope you haven't seen at least one of those suggestions :) IMHO they're all worthy animes.

EDIT: Sakura, Suzuka... I suffer from mild dyslexia :) My Bad.
One more suggestion: Futakoi Alternative - Totally unlike Futakoi (which would probably be on your "no" list), Futakoi Alternative is a lighthearted farce, but lots of fun and surprisingly touching. It's also where my avitar comes from :)

doctorwu 2006-02-28 22:45


Originally Posted by Juan Valdez
So you like shoujo romances (Hana Yori Dango, Aishiteruze Baby, etc) but dislike shounen romance shows (Suzuka)? And you like Love Hina but say you don't want "anime meant only to fill the void in a lonely otaku heart"? I'm kinda stumped.

Juan ... Haha!! Touche', sir! Admittedly, some of those ... most of those ... Ok, ALL of those titles are from "back in the day", if you will, and have an emotional attachment as a result. I have no excuse for HYD, RoV, or Love Hina, I fear, other than that of wasted youth ^_^ (For the record, though, I denounced SAKURA, as in the Cardcaptor, not Suzuka, which is actually a cool show.)

I love all of Satoshi Kon's work, esp. Tokyo Godfathers; but have never seen Rumiko Takahashi ... I have heard of Mermaid's Forest, though. Will google -- thank you.

Yoshi -- Heard of all those, but had never actually taken the time to watch any of them. They're now all on my list to screen ... I'll report back ;)

Any more suggestions? So far so good.

wao 2006-03-01 06:41

Gems? Mindgame is about as much of a gem as you can get, most people don't know about it; the R2 had english subtitles so while it's not licensed it's not on ANimesuki either. Furthermore it's really different from most anime in that A. the art style is quite different, and B. it tells the story and focuses on things in a way that is quite different from most anime. It's a rather frenzied movie, but it's worth watching anyway. If you know Studio 4C, well, then this was produced by Studio 4C...

Actually, yeah, just go watch it... I can't really think of many other gems because unfortunately, I don't really look hard enough for them...

Potatochobit 2006-03-01 07:18

u put Onegai Teacher in the no list that made me cry ;___;

im not sure if i saw mai hime/otome in ur list

try spiral maybe noir licensed

doctorwu 2006-03-01 21:41

Yoshi -- Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Vandread ... it's proved highly entertaining so far. I'm giving Rozen Maiden a chance on your advice, and hoping that the plot doesn't become predictable ... in the first few episodes it's been fun. School Rumble & Fruits Basket are hilarious, but maybe not quite up my alley -- all in all, though, thanks.

Juan -- Futakoi ... dude, that narrative moves so fast it disproves the Theory of Relativity @_@ Clever, well drawn, intriguing ... but will I ever have a grasp on what's going on? Guess I'll just have to keep watching and find out ;)

Sorry about 'Onegai, Teacher, Potato' ... to each his or her own. Mai Hime's ending sort of ruined the series for me, and Mai Otome's plot just seems to drag when I wish it'd move and to move when I feel it could've used more development. Likewise, Noir was just not strong enough in the plot department to hold my interest. I don't know much about Spiral; I'll look it up, thank you.

I will definitely look for Mind Game, since it's been recommended repeatedly. Thanks to everyone for their help so far.

I'm still looking for anything obscure, in the vein of Now and Then Here and There or Fantastic Children that might be less well known because it's older or less marketed ... anyone else have a few titles in mind?

YoshiZumi 2006-03-01 23:19

I'm glad you are enjoying Vandread and Rozen Maiden's did not get predictable for me so I hope you enjoy!

SomeName 2006-03-02 00:54

I've been jotting down several suggestions from this thread and will be giving several of them a try. Thanks ^_^

My contribution is Twin Spica. A little sad at times, but quite sweet and heart warming. If follows a little girl who aspires to become an astronaut.

I'd also suggest Honey & Clover. Most would describe it as a 'slice of life' anime. It follows a group of friends, their struggles with their directions in life, romances, pressure... I found it well written and the characters interesting. Not your typical show.

wao 2006-03-02 05:04

Well, you could always try Ideon, an old Tomino show which was the source of inspiration for the creation of Evangelion... there are subs to about ep 14 or 15 I think on Animesuki, I don't know if you'd like it though. Some swear by this anime. In a good sense, I don't mean swearing as in "this was total bullshit", of course.

ayyo 2006-03-02 23:20

I second the suggestions for Great Teacher Onizuka and Futakoi Alternative.

Other 'gems' I suggest are:

Azumanga Daioh - If you haven't seen this yet, slap yourself and watch it after GTO and Futakoi Alt.
Kiddy Grade - Now this is a real gem, ignore the "fanservice" that people called the first few episodes and stick to the end, you'll love it. It's about a girl who never dies dealing her tainted past.
Scrapped Princess - On her 16th birthday, this girl will bring destruction to the world. Drama follows as she and her siblings deal with the country hunting them, people that want the world to end, and friends that look at them differently when they find out who she is.
Midori no Hibi - A nice short 13 episode series. It's about a delinquent/yankee that is most feared in his school yet he can't get a girl for his life. Next morning, he wakes up and finds a girl on his right hand. Comedy and drama follows the duo.
Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase ~ - An occult photographer goes and visits an old German castle, there he sees a girl sitting on rooftop by the visible full moon. Awestruck, he proclaimed he has to take a picture of her and when he tries to, she disappears. When he comes back with a few colleagues to take pictures of the girl. There he discovers a few things: the girl is a vampire, she 'kissed' him, she wants him to call her "master", and shes going to live with him to find her mother.
Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu - A short 6 episode OVA about a guy meets girl. However, that girl lives in a world that he can't even begin to imagine and she tells him, a war is about to start. Thus begins the heart-rending "UFO summer".

Mr.Hawq 2006-03-03 00:01

Gilgamesh(similar to fantastic children)
witch hunter robin
Samurai 7
Midori days

info at

Aquillion 2006-03-03 21:16

Infinite Ryvius is a show about the students from a space pilot academy lost in space, focusing on how order and civilization slowly collapse aboard their ship. It's a very good show; it can seem a little slow at first, in part because there's so many characters, but that's actually an important part of the way it builds tension for the later episodes (when things move much faster.) You'll probably like it if you liked Starship Operators, although I think Ryvius is better.

Kino no Tabo, a.k.a. Kino's Journey, is an unusual series about a traveller and a motorcycle visiting strange countries. It's a very thoughtful show, and often uses the countries to comment on real-world issues. This show also has a different art style than usual, very beautiful.

Um... I'm not putting this one up with the other two, but St Luminous Mission High School is a kind of interesting show somehow, too. It's bizarre. It takes place at a girl's school where the girls are vanishing one by one into thin air; the administrators at the school are more worried about how this will affect their school's reputation than at what's happening to them. Descriptions of the plot don't really do this show justice... It's a show that could have ended up being a bad fanservice or half-bad mystery show, but somehow was so laid-back that it avoids both pitfalls. Mostly it is wierd, and not in a normal zany anime way.

Galileo 2006-03-04 04:30

Legend of the Galactic Heroes - Itís one of my favourite shows, with an outstanding plot and character development.

Planetes - An excellent science fiction series with a good story.

doctorwu 2006-03-05 07:58

Somename: I saw Honey & Clover, liked it -- it was almost too zany for me, but it was ridiculously funny. Twin Spica's on my list now, thanks.
Wao: Ideon ... hmm. Will screen ... never know if you'll like something til you try it, right?
ayyo: I've seen Scrapped Princess, Daioh and parts of Moon Phase ... the former two I enjoyed, the latter I have seen very little of -- not enough for a judgement -- but I will definitely investigate the others on your suggestion. Thank you.
Mr. Hawq: I have seen everything on your list. Liked most of them, but at this point I think I'm looking for things that are a bit more obscure ... (BTW, how, exactly, is Gilgamesh similar to Fantastic Children? In my opinion, everything from animation to atmosphere to character development to straight-up plot is completely different in those two pieces. Then again, I guess the great thing about art is that everyone connects differently :p )
Aquillon: I seen both Kino no Tabi and Ryvius, but they are both excellent suggestions; excellent shows for that matter. Thanks!
Galileo: Two I've heard about but haven't seen. Have heard only good things. Will put on the screening list immediately. Thanks.

Along with the suggestions above, I've been searching on my own as well, not wanting to seem lazy. ^_^ I recently found Otogouzoshi, which is a sort of modern vintage-style samurai show that is -- so far -- Gorgeous with a capital G and, if not revolutionary, done very well for its genre. I'm also enjoying Mars Daybreak as a sort of replacement for Tide-line Blue, but again have seen very little. Hoping those also help give a further hint at the kind of thing I'm looking for.

I hope others are benefitting from this thread as much as I am ;) Please keep on suggesting, because God knows I intend to continue watching.

Mr.Hawq 2006-03-05 12:48

Shura no toki
Peace maker kurogane
macross zero
petite cossette(this might be the one you might look for)
Blue gender

info at

MamoruUsagi 2006-03-05 15:41

Some of the best romances.

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon

200 anime episodes, 18 manga volumes, the live action series. A wonderful romance. The main couple and the best couple, Usagi and Mamoru, known as Serena and Darien, too, get married, have a child and are the greatest couple ever. They have lots of kisses and a wonderful eternal romance. They are lovers reincarnated from the past and become boyfriend and girlfriend in the present and husband and wife in the future. They have a child and a wonderful, romance, eternal, passionate love story. I have been a fan since 1995. The best version is the Japanese version of the anime. I love Tuxedo Mask.

Fushigi Yuugi

Wonderful love story. 18 manga volumes and many anime episodes. A wonderful love story between Miaka and Tamahome. Miaka goes into a book and finds love, romance and excitement. A tale of love and adventure. Also called Fushigi Yugi.

Ayashi no Ceres (Manga)

The manga of Ayashi no Ceres is great. The anime takes out everything. The manga has a very touching and passioante romance.

Mars (manga)

A tale of love that is very mature and emotional.

Marmalade Boy

Sweet, cute and very realistic.

Peach Girl (Manga)

A very realistic series everyone can relate to.


Cute and series series.

Kare First Love

A great manga series.


Great series.

Happy Hustle High

Fun manga series.

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