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by Tim Georgi

Back a few years ago, we entertained the concept of the "Top Whatever" list. It was an attempt to show some of my non-anime watching friends what was so intriguing about all these "cartoons from Japan" and why I watch them. Well, I told them that the best way to find out was to go take a watch. It's been a long time since that first version of the Top Whatever list, so here's the second installment, ready for 2012. Most of what's here can now be termed "classic," but it's all good stuff. And it's available domestically. Some of it may not be at your local Best Buy or FYE, but almost everything can be found on Amazon. If Amazon has it, we'll have the "buyit" icon next to it. You should at least be able to pick it up there. Also, new this time around is the Netflix icon. If it's available on Netflix, either through DVD or on the Instant Queue, we have links for you there as well.

And with that, here's the Tim's Top Whatever List, 2012 style!


1) Azumanga Daioh

Released by ADV Films

High school wasn't ever like this. Life in Miss Yukari's home room class is, shall we say, unique. Join Yomi, Tomo, Osaka, Kagura, Chiyo-chan and Sakaki as we experience (and endure) the random bits of life with crazy teachers, school competition, field trips, evil cats and the insane antics of the class in Azumanga Daioh.


2) Cowboy Bebop

Released by Bandai Entertainment

They're just trying to make a living... by avoiding the past. Welcome aboard the Bebop. Spike and Jet are two unlikely partners in the bounty hunting business. Living job to job, they attempt to make a living catching the bad guys and turning them over to the authorities. But they never seem to win at that game. Joined by Faye, a bounty head herself, Ein, a mysterious "data dog", and Ed, a super elite hacker, the crew of the Bebop work to keep food on the table, but end up getting caught in situations that just lead to more trouble.


3) Wandaba Style

Released by ADV Films

Self-proclaimed genius manager Michael Hanagada will stop at nothing to make his pop idol girl group a success. Sakura, Himawari, Ayame and Yuri, the members of the pop group Mix Juice, will stop at nothing to make it in the music biz. And 13-year old boy genius scientist Dr. Susumo Tsukumo will stop at nothing to prove that the lunar landing in 1969 was a fake by launching his own environmentally-friendly spaceship to the Moon. Smash all this together and you have the recipe for insanity and major laughs in the Wacky Science Fiction Series, Wandaba Style!


4) Angelic Layer

Released by ADV Films

Misaki Suzuhara just arrived in Tokyo to live with her Aunt. There she gets thrust into a new life full of surprises around every corner. Join Misaki and her Angel, Hikaru, as she discovers a new world of uncertanty with a new school, new friends, and the amazing Angelic Layer!


5) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

The Earth has been destroyed by a deadly poison that has rendered a good majority of the land and water uninhabitable. In small pockets of livable areas, the people of the world try to survive while keeping the deadly spores of the Fukai from taking over the last remaining portions of life. Amidst invasions from other lands, the princess Nausicaa must try to keep the invaders at bay while keeping the giant insects that now rule the Fukai from destroying everything.


6) Chobits

Released by Geneon Entertainment

Hideki is your typical Japanese geek. He's a country boy in the big city that lives by himself, doesn't have a girl, and is looking for things to keep his time occupied while trying to go to college. Until the day he see a Persocom, a computer designed to look like a human or an animal. Depressed beyond words at the high cost of the Persocoms, Hideki is overjoyed when he finds a Persocom that has been tossed in the trash. But he's thrown into the middle of a mystery as the Persocom, Chii, seems to be able to run without the required software for the unit.


7) Ranma 1/2

Released by Viz Media

One of the classics here. Meet Ranma Saotome. He's just your typical martial arts expert that's been promised to be married to one of the daughters of Soun Tendo, a long time friend of Ranma's father, Genma. However, a trip to China throws life into a series of adventures after Ramna and Genma fall into the Cursed Springs of Jusenkyo. Now whenever Genma is hit with cold water, he transformes into a giant panda bear. And Ranma, well, he gets turned into a busty young girl. Can Ranma find a way to remove the curse while trying to avoid being engaged to Akane Tendo? At 200+ episodes, you'll have a good time trying to find out.


8) Blue Seed

Released by ADV Films

Momiji seems like a typical girl, but when she finds out that she's the descendent of the Kushinada Dynasty, life becomes complicated. She's destined to save the planet from a race of plant monsters called the Aragami. Complications become more interesting as an Aragami named Kusanagi ends up getting involved in the scenerio, turning from a would-be killer to a defender of Momiji. The fate of the planet falls into the hands of Momiji and the members of the secret government Terrestrial Administration Center.


9) Excel Saga

Released by ADV Films

Lord Ilpalazo wants to take over the world. He decides to start small though. If he can take over a small town, then his plan can be up-scaled to take over the rest of the world. His problem? Well, he only has one minion to do his bidding. Excel Excel. And Excel is rather bumbling. In her futile efforts to help take over the city for Ilpalazo, she dies and is resurrected several hundred times and runs into all sorts of bizarre characters, from the Princess Hyatt to her dog-would-be-lunch Menchi.


10) .hack//SIGN

Released by Bandai Entertainment

Welcome to "The World," and online roleplaying game that is taking the population by storm. Take a trip into the online world of knights, mystery and magic with Tsubasa, Mimiru, Bear and the rest of the gang as they try to come to an understanding of the link between the game and the mysterious happeneings surrounding the things happeneing to players in the real world.


 

 


Missed the first version of the Top Whatever list? You can find the full list here.

Princess Mononoke
The Venus Wars
Fushigi Yuugi
The Vision of Escaflowne
Card Captor Sakura
Bubblegum Crisis
Tenchi Muyo OAV
Record of Lodoss War
Birdy the Mighty
Dual
El Hazard
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Macross Plus

   
 

 

 
   
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