1) Noir – Each episode ended in a hail of bullets, guns, and popcorn. Yes, popcorn. Noir is best known for it’s beautifully set up and animated action scenes, synched to an enchanting Yuki Kajiura soundtrack to make a brew of balletic symphonic destruction. It would make the most manly of us weep in tears of joy at all the killing and destruction. While Noir has it’s faults, action is not one of them. -DW
2) Full Metal Panic – The anime action category cannot go without the requisite mech anime. This year’s FMP brought us the Lambda Driver, a weapon so bad ass that it could create enegy bolts from mere thought. Combining DBZ-like powers with Gasaraki-style mech action created something that is forced to be reckoned with. While FMP’s constant change from the comedic to the dramatic was at times unsettling, it’s action cannot be faltered. -DW
3) RahXephon – Ok. I (Dark Wind) lied. There are two mech action animes this year, RahXephon being the other one. “Mech action” doesn’t really describe the show, but neither does “Evangelion rip-off” as some smug, jaded anime fans have dubbed it. With mech designs that are beautifully colored and animated with a sweeping, dramatic storyline worthy of Tolstoy, the mechs and planes crash and burn into a philosophical mish-mash that make RahXephon worth watching over and over. While it does borrow elements from Evangelion, and it doesn’t beat Eva out, it’s a damn fine showing of “mech drama.” -DW
1) His and Her Circumstances (Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou - Kare Kano) – Gainax’s little puppy that could, this came out of nowhere from Evangelion director Anno creating a story of a boy, a girl, and boy and girl falling in love with one another. Of course, that happens in the first few episodes. -DW
2) Ai Yori Aoshi – The anime said to be the answer to Love Hina. Ai Yori Aoshi is not just some anime with big breasted women, it is an anime with an attractive story of what one women would do to be with her childhood love and what a man would do to battle his past. -Alpha
3) Please Teacher (Onegai Teacher) – The show with the weirdest name. Looking at this title on the DVD rack might look like some hentai title, but that is one of the biggest mistake anyone could make about Please Teacher. This anime has a lot of fun, but when the dramatic scenes kick in… you will feel it. -Stikz
1) Voices of a Distant Star – This OAV’s creator was a one man army. Not only the creation process was amazing, the story was also very compelling. Those who have experienced love or are currently in love with that special someone… picture yourself separated from your love, not only by distance, but time also. There is that heart throbbing pain for me when I think of it, hence Hoshi no Koe or otherwise known as Voices of a Distant Star certainly deserves this spot. -Alpha
2) Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal – What made this title so sad? Try accidentally killing your loved one. Yeah sad is not it? -Alpha
3) Fruits Basket – This title is deserving because the protagonist of the show is a teenage girl who loses her one and only dependable person in her life (her mom). She survives by living in a tent, then one day suddenly the tent is destroyed by a landslide. The story is well done, it is a must see for any anime fan. -Alpha
Most Ecchi Humor:
1) Mahoromatic – Explanation not needed. Picture a robot maid with a boy who has a perverted mind :). -Alpha
2) DNA2 – Mega playboy, girl from the future, nice mix of female characters, makes DNA2 a winner this year! Check out my DNA2 reviews in the reviews section. -Alpha
3) Steel Angel Kurumi – A surprise title for me, Steel Angel Kurumi is one of the best ecchi humors out there. It is just so damn good. You can also check out the reviews of Steel Angel Kurumi in the reviews section. -Alpha
1) Magical Shopping Arcade: Abenobashi – What Bashi? You can tell this title is crazy by the name heh.
2) Risky Safety – Now AN Entertainment pulled a quicky on us. AnimeNation starts their own distributing instead of just selling others’ products. Risky Safety is a weird title in that you would not be able to understand anything. There is Risky and then there is Safety. You make the guess who is good or bad.
Why? (The Worst):
The worst titles slipped passed us this year. We have not ran into any 2003 worst titles. If you want worst titles here are three to consider:
1) Samurai Showdown: The Motion Picture
2) Virtual Fighter
3) Street Fighter II
1) RahXephon – This is one heck of a series that embodies a great entertaining story, nice character designs and an ear popping sound track.
2) Please Teacher – This is this year’s top shounen title. With Kikuko Inoue’s voice backing it up, makes it even better.
3) Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal Director’s Cut – No doubt, Samurai X started the anime samurai craze here in the United States. Without the great success of Samurai X, titles, such as, Samurai Deeper Kyo, would not have made it to the American market. Now it is time to own both of volumes of the OAV in one director’s cut DVD!!!!
Best Kiddy Anime:
1) Bey Blade – This title got me wondering, “What’s with the Bey Blade craze in the U.S.?” All of a sudden like Pokemon, children and sometimes adults began to collect and battle with their top look alike things. Wow, tops were not even popular until Bey Blade brought it back heh.
2) Dragon Ball GT – I would call this the best Dragon Ball ever, because simply there seems to be an ending…. right?
1) Kare Kano – If only Tsubasa-chan could be my personal model….
2) Azumanga Daioh - School girls in uniforms!!!!!!!
3) Trigun – You have seen the anime, now take on the manga.
Simplicity is Beauty (DVD Covers):
1) Samurai X: Reflection – By looking at this cover, how simple can you get? There is nothing too flashy; it just gives me the right vibe when looking at is
2) Excel Saga – The Excel Saga covers have always been nice, it is hard to explain, but it certainly belongs here.
3) Last Exile – Quite a new title from Geneon Entertainment or previously known as Pioneer Animation. Last Exile is a GONZO work, and we all know how I feel towards GONZO’s stuff.
1) Ai Yori Aoshi – It is not rocket science, Ai Yori Aoshi, deserves a spot, because of it’s attractive story, set of characters and ecchi humor.
2) Please Teacher – I wonder if guys ever fantasize about their female teachers… ehh Please Teacher is funny, short and sweet.
3) Chobits – Persocoms are replacing humans, humans using persocoms as more than just a robot. This title hints the truth of our society as it is saying that people have no courage anymore. They want to be with a persocom, because they know they will not be rejected by their persocom, whereas, another human would have the ability to disagree.
1) Crispin Freeman – He’s known from these works:
(Read or Die - Joker, .Hack - Balmung, X TV - Fûma Monô, Vandread - Tenmei and many more click here to see (http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0293342/ ) He’s had a very productive year! - Stikz
2) Stephen Jay Blum – The coolest vioce in the industry. You’ve heard him as Spike-Cowboy Bebop, Onizuka-GTO, and Sooooo many more. click here to see (http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0089710/) I’d say Steven Blum and all five of his other aliases’ jobs are very secure. ^_^ - Stikz
3) Jessica Cavello - ADV’s princess, Jessica has quite a unique voice. You may know her from roles in Original Dirty Pair -Yuri, Sorcerer Hunters - Barbara, Excel Saga (1-13) - Excel and others. (http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0130774/) I mean the lady blew out her vocal chords for us in her Excel Saga run. For that alone she gets an honorable mention. Crazy lady! ^_^ - Stikz
Most Kawaii Character:
1) Momji (Fruits Basket) – If his voice does not get to you, his character will. Momji has a sad past, one in which no one wants to experience. If his mom cannot give any love to Momji, we WILL!
2) Marie (Please Teacher) – Marie is the cutest mascotish character to come along in a while. It’s malfunctioned sense of awareness is downright hilarious. Marie just looks dazed and confused most of the time but it occasionally shows a softhearted side when thinking for itself. - Stikz
3) Kazami Mizuho (Please Teacher) – Kikuko Inoue’s voice is what makes Mizuho such a cute character. Every time she says, “I don’t care anymore!” her facial expressions are so cute.
Best Anime Site:
1) Anime Agency – It seems anime agency has had some misfortune as of late and they have lost a ton of files. It’s really an ultra cool site and you should all visit it to help build it up to and surpass its former state. – Stikz
2) Anime Academy – It’s time to go to school. And if by school I mean Anime Academy.com then that’s cool fool. This site is set up like a classroom and their purpose is to teach you all you need to know about anime. From reviews to news they do it all. Plus they’ve got some pretty original columns to boot. So go check ‘em out and see if your favorite anime makes the grade! – Stikz
3) Anime Lyrics – Need lyrics for that anime intro you keep replaying? Animelyrics.com is where you need to be. Not only does it have anime lyrics as the name suggest’ it has j-pop, videogame, and dancemania lyrics too. So start brushing up on your karaoke! - Stikz
1) Rune Soldier – What does a sorcerer whose desperate for some adventure and a group of female adventurers have in common? Absolutely nothing, find the reason to love this series as Louie tries to join in with the females to have some fun!
2) Maison Ikkoku – Rumiko Takahashi is my goddess, there, simple and direct.
3) Lupin III – If five finger discounts is your thing, then you might find yourself a perfect fit with Lupin the 3rd.
Best New Series:
1) Last Exile – Besides being the best new spring 2003 anime, Last Exile has become one of my favorite series yet. As an action show, it is nearly perfect. In addition to having an interesting story and loveable characters, Last Exile has some of the most breathtaking animation ever seen on TV. The only serious potential problem I can see with the series is, as with several other Gonzo shows, if the anime ends in the mid-twenties, many important plot holes may be left unfilled; though don’t let this discourage you from watching. - Piro^kun
2) Heat Guy J – Heat Guy J is gorgeous to look at, fun to watch, and has a story that’s unique enough to set it apart from other anime. It displays a beautiful and sometimes odd world which runs on steam as an alternative energy source, and as well, has some very alternative characters who dwell within it. It’s fight sequences are fast and brutal, and gives just a bit of mystery to certain characters’ motivations, urging you to see the next episode. This is definitely a quality series. - Piro^kun
3) Boys Over Flowers – On the whole, Hana Yori Dango is very well-done, and definitely worth watching if you’re a fan of shoujo soap operas. It’s a good deal more serious on average than most, but there’s more than enough here to keep a fan’s attention. The character-driven plotline runs smoothly, and the F4 turn out to be much more developed than the stereotyped school bullies I’m used to seeing in movies and TV shows. The character of Makino Tsukushi will definitely win you over with her determination and self-confidence. And by the time each tape of Hana Yori Dango ends, you’ll be at the edge of your seat asking for more. Now that’s anime for you! - Piro^kun
Movie of the Year:
1) Cowboy BeBop: The Movie – Cowboy Bebop is an amazing cinematic experience, and an impressive display of the potential of anime. Slick action scenes, a clever plot, and a surprising soundtrack combine with the dazzling animation to thrill newcomers and seasoned Beboppers alike. Way too cool to be anything but number one this year! - Piro^kun
2) Spirited Away – Spirited Away will hopefully open up the West to what the Japanese have long recognized - that Miyazaki is a visionary genius whose animated oeuvre shows an originality, beauty and awesome strangeness beyond comparison to anything else on the big screen. Take your kids, your parents, your friends and colleagues, and give in to Miyazaki’s sweet, haunting spell, and you will find yourself transported to a magical place, where you can, like Chihiro, forget for a time all the details of your everyday life. - Piro^kun
3) Martian Successor Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness – With a plenty of political intrigue, unsolved mysteries, suspense and action, Martian Successor Nadesico will keep you on the edge of your seat even if you did not particularly care for the TV series. The first part is admittedly quite confusing, and until the pieces begin to fall into place you will feel rather like you are being swept helplessly along, but everything is well worth it. It makes a perfect bronze. - Piro^kun
1) The Animatrix – Overall I found The Animatrix something really great to have. But that’s only because, I’m a Matrix fan and an anime fan at the same time. So I like this. I’m quite sure all Matrix fans (and all anime fans as well) will enjoy this, in fact I recommend they all take the time to watch this, for it’s the only way to fully appreciate the movies. - Piro^kun
2) Read or Die – This is a great show to watch all in one night with some friends. It’s quick, it’s simple (relatively), and it has one of the best concepts I’ve seen in a while. There’s not a lot you can find wrong about it, but it’s over so quick there’s almost no room for development of any kind. Get the DVDs ASAP; just don’t expect this show to give you a new perspective on life. - Piro^kun
3) .hack//SIGN – .hack//Sign, what an amazing idea. The story and show all take place in an online game called “The World”. Nah its no car and sky scraper game, its got knights, magic and monsters. Isn’t that Everquest? Kind of, but this game has MILLIONS of players not just around a million, MILLIONS. The players take the game extremely seriously and try to keep real life separate from the game. That plan doesn’t last long as people start to go comatose while playing “The World’. So SOMEONE had better do something about that… - Piro^kun
1) Habane Renmei – I don’t even know where to begin. From its classy stylish old-air appeal to its daring themes of fulfillment and abandonment, and finally to its flawless perfectly paced plot, this is truly the best animé ever made. Every episode made me regard my own life, and myself analyze my own actions and my most intrinsic and personal needs. As you watch Haibane Renmei, you will draw parallels to your own experiences and hardships, and may even find yourself driven to change yourself for the better. In the words of ‘As Good as it Gets’, this anime makes me want to be a better man. - Piro^kun
2) Banner of the Stars – Banner of the Stars builds upon the strong central characters that where presented in the first season of the series (called Crest of the Stars) and expands upon the story universe, diversifying the cast, as well as the universe in which the story unfolds. Simply put, Banner of the Stars ups this series to another level, once again combining excellent dialogue and an epic story, now with the added bonus of massive space battle filled with a unique cast of characters. Anyone who enjoyed Crest of the Stars will want to pick this one up. It’s another notch in the belt of a great sci-fi anime series. - Piro^kun
3) Read or Die – The ‘cool-ness’ factor plays a big part in the appeal of Read or Die, and is a prime example of the style over substance genre done right. Whether fighting in a huge arena reminiscent of Moses’s flight across the Red Sea, or battling in the closed confines of a public library, Read or Die always retains a certain breathtaking flair that sets it apart from other similar animes that concentrate on action over plot. - Piro^kun
The BIG Editors Wrap Up:
Sorry for the big delay, it was mainly my fault as I went on a vacation during the time this was suppose to debut, which was, January 1, 2004. But oh wells, as long as we get it up, time does not matter much, 2004 just started. Anime is looking real bright up ahead, so again save those pennies, because you will be needing every cent! Here’s a thanks to all those sites that I took pictures from :P. I mainly have to thank Weasl.net and TRSI for most of the pictures.