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Okay. Over the years, friends have tried to understand just what possesses me to like anime and manga have asked for some suggestions on what to look at to see "what anime is all about". They may have seen something in a video store, on TV or heard of a specific anime series, but never really knew what makes the stuff so popular. So, I figured, getting a list together would be a good way to go (and a great topic for a feature to boot).

So, you want anime suggestions? Well, here goes. These should all be things that you can get here in the US at most major video stores. Got a Suncoast Motion Picture Company, Best Buy or Sam Goody close? Great place to get these. There are also tons of places to buy these titles online. All of the titles listed here are also available through our affiliation with Amazon.com. If you'd like to get your hands on anything here quickly, click here or on any of the "Buy It" icons in the title summaries.

Now, instead of giving the world some cheesy "Top 10" list or the ever-popular "Top 20", we're offering up the first part of my Top Whatever list. Pretty much just listing stuff until I get tired of listing. This is a list of some of the best anime that's currently available domestically in the U.S. There should be something on here that will appeal to most people. Or if you're new to anime and looking for possibilities for trying something new. But enough of this... On to the List!


1) Princess Mononoke

Released by Miramax Films/Buena Vista Home Video, available on DVD and Dubbed VHS

Probably the greatest anime film of all time. Directed, written, produced and artwork by Hayao Miyazaki. Mononoke is currently the highest grossing domestic Japanese film of all time. (The only thing to beat it was an "import", Titanic). Princess Mononoke is an intriguing story of the delicate balance between humans and nature. Ashitaka is the prince of a long-thought-dead tribe of Japanese warriors. One day a demon beast approaches the village. Ashitaka fights the demon and in defeating it, he is cursed with a mark that will eventually spread through his body and kill him. Ashitaka gets thrown into the middle of the battle of human progression versus the spirit gods of the forest as he attempts to find a way to lift the curse. Can Ashitaka keep both sides from destroying each other and help them find a way to live together in peace?

Teka's Ratings: Action/Fantasy
13+, Mild Violence


2) The Venus Wars

Released by U.S. Manga Corps, available on DVD and VHS

This is the anime title that is responsible for my being here now. Humans have been transplanted to the planet Venus after a large meteorite had burned off the planet's atmosphere. A reporter from Earth is sent to Venus to cover the impending war rumored to ravage the planet. Rumors become fact as the brutal situations that have plagued the inhabitants of Venus turn into a war between the continents of Afrodia and Io. While the government of the conquered Afrodia gives in to the invading Io forces, a small group of monobike racers decide to take on the battle, eventually being captures and forced to join the Afrodian resistance to try and tip the balance and regain control of their home. Action, adventure and some great motorcycle action, along with one of the best dub productions makes this one of the great underground anime classics of all time.

Teka's Ratings: SciFi/Action
16+, Mild Violence, Language


3) Fushigi Yuugi - The Mysterious Play

Released by Pioneer Entertainment, available on VHS and in 2 box sets on DVD

Friends Miaka Yuki and Yui Hongo, two normal middle school students, get magically transported into a Chinese mythological world in the form of a book called The Universe of the Four Gods. Miaka and Yui become bitter enemies as they live the lives of the Priestesses of the Chinese beast gods Suzaku and Seiyuu. Miaka must gather the seven Suzaku warriors and summon the beast god before the forces of Seiyuu take over the world of the book. Along the way, Miaka falls in love with the Suzaku warrior Tamahome. Miaka finds herself caught in the struggle between her love for Tamahome, her friendship with Yui and her duties as a priestess. She must find the balance to summon Suzaku and have all her wishes granted. A great mix of magic, romance and comedy makes Fushigi Yuugi one of the best anime television series ever produced.

Teka's Ratings: Action/Fantasy/Comedy
16+, Violence, Brief Nudity, Adult Themes


4) The Vision of Escaflowne

Released by Bandai Entertainment, available subtitled on VHS and bilingual DVD

High school sprinter Hitomi Kanzaki experiences a disturbing vision of another world and discovers from her best friend that Amano (the track team star she has a crush on) is about to go abroad. On an impulse, she asks him the next day for her first kiss -- if she can sprint 100 meters in thirteen seconds. But then, a young warrior prince, Van Fanel, and a dragon appears before Hitomi during the run. The group is chased by the dragon into the hills near the school, leaving destruction in its wake. Then, in a pillar of light, Hitomi and Van are transported to the world of Gaea, where Earth is known only as the "Mystic Moon" in the nightly expanse. Van returns to the capital of his country Fanelia to be made king after defeating the dragon. During the coronation rite, the Zaibach Empire launches an invasion with Guymelef Alseides mecha, and Van must retrieve the legendary god of protection of Fanelia, Escaflowne...

Teka's Ratings: Action/Fantasy
13+, Violence


5) Card Captor Sakura

Released by Nevlana through Pioneer Entertainment, currently airing on Kids WB affiliate stations, uncut subtitled DVD available

Sakura was just a normal elementary school student until the day she hears a noise in her father's basement library. As she investigates, she finds a mysterious book glowing on the shelf. She finds the book to be filled with the magical Clow Cards and by opening the book, accidentally scatters the cards around the world. Sakura is then joined by the guardian of the book, Kero-chan, and her best friend Tomoyo as they try to recapture the cards before the wreak havoc upon the world.

Teka's Ratings: Action/Romance/Comedy
13+, Mild Violence


6) Bubblegum Crisis

Released by AnimEigo, available on DVD

The original anime cyberpunk classic, Bubblegum Crisis is an action-packed, fast-moving adventure with a group of female vigilantes that oppose the Genom Corporation, the largest company in the world (which basically runs the governments of the entire world as well). Genom is primarily a producer of cybernetic technology. Their robots, called Boomers, have various purposes in the reconstruction of devastated areas of the world, but they also have a dark side... Priss, Sylia, Nene and Linna are the only hope that MegaTokyo has of defeating the Boomers and taking down Genom. Twists and turns are around every corner accompanied by one of the hottest anime soundtracks in history!

Teka's Ratings: SciFi/Action
16+, Violence, Language, Brief Nudity


7) Tenchi Muyo Ryo-ohki OAVs

Released by Pioneer Entertainment, available individually on VHS and in a box set on DVD

Tenchi Masaki is just a normal high school student. While on his summer vacation, Tenchi is working at his grandfather's Shinto shrine when he accidentally releases a demon that had been sealed up by one of his ancestors. Tenchi rushes back out of demon's cave and he reseals the opening. Tenchi returns home where he is followed by the demon, Ryoko, as she attempts to kill him for his ancestors actions. But Ryoko is just the beginning of his problems. Soon, Tenchi is thrown into an outerspace adventure as Ayeka, Sasami, Mihoshi, Washu and Ryo-ohki join up and create all sorts of trouble for Tenchi! And trouble follows the crew around as they have to do battle to prevent cosmic calamity from taking over! It's one of the greatest comedy/action series by creator Taro Maki.

Teka's Ratings: Comedy/SciFi/Action
13+, Mild Violence, Brief Nudity


8) Record of Lodoss War

Released by U.S. Manga Corps, available on VHS and DVD

The pinnacle of sword and sorcery in anime, Record of Lodoss War is the tale of a small band of unlikely heroes in medieval times who must learn to trust one another to defeat the evil forces that are threatening the land of Lodoss, the Accursed Island. Join Parn, a young, high-spirited, hot headed warrior; Deedlit, a happy-go-lucky elf with an attitude to match; Etoh, the humble priest-in-training; Ghim, the hard-nosed, battle-experienced dwarf; and Woodchuck, a cowardly, petty theif who happens to be in the right place at the wrong time, as they battle against the forces of the evil.

Teka's Ratings: Action/Adventure
13+, Violence


9) Birdy the Mighty

Released by U.S. Manga Corps, available on VHS

It's the hot alien cop/pathetic human formula with a twist. Birdy is an interstellar police officer in persuit of a group of nasty aliens bent on mutating the inhabitants of the planet Earth. Tsutomu is a student that's not too high on the self-esteem scale. Tsutomu is walking home late one night when he's confronted with a strange man that's being chased by Birdy. She mistakenly catches Tsutomu and ends up killing him in the blinding flash of power. As a punishment for her reckless actions, Birdy must time-share her body with Tsutomu to allow him to continue his life almost as if nothing had happened. What results is a hilarious, action-packed police chase as Birdy and Tsutomu have to get used to dealing with each other and to keep the human race from being changed forever.

Teka's Ratings: SciFi/Action
16+, Violence, Brief Nudity


10) Dual

Released by Pioneer Entertainment, available on DVD and VHS

What would happen if you took the insanity of Tenchi, the multiple dimensions of El Hazard and threw in a chunk of Evangelion and mixed them all up into one series? Well, it could turn out a bit like this! Dual is a high energy adventure where one small event split the directions of the dimensions and created two parallel universes. In the "normal" world, Kazuki Yotsuka is a slightly geeky high school student who has visions of gigantic robots that battle in the city around the high school. No one else can see what he sees, so he chronicles the happenings on his website. One day he is approached by one of the most popular girls in school, Mitsuki Sonada. She is intrigued by the story on his website and says that her father, a local scientist, wants to talk with him. We find that Dr. Sonada has created a machine to cross over to the parallel world and he and Mitsuki accidentally send Kazuki to the "other side". There, he finds himself in the middle of a battle for the world as he becomes a pilot of one of the gigantic robots from his visions. Hilarity ensues as he gets into all sorts of trouble with the girls that pilot the other robots and he comes to grips with the world that he apparently can't get out of.

Teka's Ratings: SciFi/Comedy/Action/Adventure
13+, Violence, Mild Language


11) El Hazard

Released by Pioneer Entertainment, available on VHS and DVD

It's a battle that transcends the dimensions from the mind of Tenchi creator Taro Maki. High School student Makoto gets transported to a bizarre fantasy world known as El Hazard by a mysterious woman in an ancient relic discovered beneath the school. He finds himself lost in El Hazard, along with Mr. Fujisawa, a teacher from the school. Makoto and Fujisawa are discovered by the royal entourage of El Hazard and are taken back to their palace in Roshtaria. There, Makoto is revealed to be a perfect double for the missing Princess Fatora and is forced to masquerade as the Princess to help combat Roshtaria's enemies, the Bugrom, by calling forth the ultimate weapon, the Eye of God. Makoto's "nemesis" Jinnai, who was also transported, ends up in the evil empire of the Bugrom as a general to the Bugrom forces. Makoto and his new friends must stop Jinnai and the Bugrom if they are to keep the peace of El Hazard intact. Come. The gates of El Hazard are waiting for you...

Teka's Ratings: Fantasy/Action/Comedy
16+, Violence, Mild Language, Brief Nudity, Adult Situations


12) Neon Genesis Evangelion

Released by ADV Films, available on DVD, VHS and LD

It's GAINAX at it's best! The Earth is under attack... Again. 15 years earlier, the Earth had been attacked by the mysterious "Angels", destroying a majority of the planet and killing 2/3 of the world's population. Now, the government agency NERV is striving to ensure the survival of the human race as the Angels return. Shinji Ikari is a highly sheltered, introverted young man that is called up to NERV by his father and head of NERV operations, Gendo Ikari. Shinji is drafted into piloting one of the top secret EVA Units as the attacks of the Angels get more and more targeted and intense. Shinji must deal with all sorts of issues from confronting his father to trying to fit in a society that he has tried to stay away from. One of the most controversial and talked about series, Evangelion is full of fast-paced mecha battles, wry comedy and a slightly twisted sense of action and horror never before seen in anime history.

Teka's Ratings: SciFi/Action
16+, Violence, Language, Adult Situations


13) Macross Plus

Released by Manga Entertainment, available subtitled on VHS and DVD

Artificial intelligence is the name of the game in this masterful adaptation of the original Macross concept. It's 80 years after the original Macross series and we find Lt. Isamu Dysan transferred to a military testing facility where the next transformable fighter will be selected. Isamu runs up against his opponent, Guld Bowman, who had been Isamu's best friend growing up. Amidst the "testing", the intergalactic pop music sensation, the AI generated Sharon Apple makes a tour stop in the area. To add to the tension already there in the testing, Myung, the object of the end of Isamu and Guld's friendship, appears as Sharon's manager. Old feelings and hot tempers flare as the battle for the fighter and the battle for Myung intensifies. Behind the scenes, there's a bizarre link between the testing and the AI unit for Sharon Apple. Action, romance and an actual *working* Fold system are all there in one of the best dub productions to date.

Teka's Ratings: SciFi/Action
16+, Violence, Language, Adult Situations


 

End of Part One...

Well, there's 13 suggestions on where to start. Plenty of action, romance, and comedy for everyone! But that's not the entire list. I have another pile of entries to "The List" that we'll get up in the future. So if you're looking for more suggestions, be sure to check back in the future for more. Until then, grab yourself something new and see what all this anime stuff is all about.


 
 
     
 
 

 

 
   
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