The Top Ten Series: Shounen (Part I)
I have a strange obsession with lists – they’re completely essential in my day-to-day life as I have a head like a sieve. In anime I can’t seem to stop myself from making lists either – but the thing is that these lists are completely subjective and utterly dependant on my mood…….and I’m a very fickle woman. Looking back at some of my existing lists I have to stop myself from going back and rewriting the lot of them! But that would be entirely too much work, and my the lazy aspect of my personality is much more dominant than the perfectionist aspect
You would not believe how many times I’ve changed this list. Shows have been added, removed and rearranged over and over since I first started hashing this series of posts out way back at Christmas time! So that’s why this is so very late – I’m sort of happy with what I’ve got now, so time to get these things posted! Shounen anime & manga are my bread & butter – I can’t get enough of them! They have an addictive quality and I’m the kind of person that doesn’t mind dedicating inordinate amounts of time marathoning one series (when the mood strikes me), or following a series for years on end.
Anyway, enough rambling – time to get onto the rankings. Once again I’ll be going in ascending order, two series per post.
Bleach has moved up and down this list like its been on a yo-yo diet! At one stage I got so pissed off with the series I dropped it from the list entirely…….but then felt guilty and that why it’s ended up here, at number 10.
I got into Bleach when it was about a year in – I marathoned the first 50 odd episodes in a weekend and have been following it weekly ever since……I can’t remember when I picked up the manga (it was quite a while ago though) but I follow it weekly too…..even though it irritates me more often than it thrills me these days.
I have a love/hate relationship with Bleach. I love the concept, and the Soul Society arc is one of the best in any series I’ve watched…….its just that that arc seems to have been Bleach’s highpoint and nothing since has had quite the same punch. Lately the manga storyline has been so incredibly dull that the anime filler arc was massively more entertaining – and that’s something I never thought I’d say!
The problem seems to be that the cast is way too big and Kubo seems very resistant to trimming the fat. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if the characters had any depth – but they don’t and just seem to be there, eating up screen time not doing a hell of a lot other than looking cool. Bleach is a very cool looking series – I love the art and character designs and whole set up, but its a case of style over substance 9 times out of 10…….these characters havent really developed much over the run of the series (other than to get increasingly ridiculous power-ups at random intervals) and at this stage I’m tired of them. This upsets me because back during Soul Society, Bleach was easily my favourite long running shounen series – its fall from grace is really quite sad.
Now long running anime series always suffer from filler-itis and I have to say Bleach isn’t the worst series when it comes to filler. The studio goes out of its way to create a long, coherent filler arcs to stall for time – while no where near as good as the canon stuff, the Bleach filler is by no means terrible…..although they do tend to have ridiculous character designs and terrible naming sense.
Bleach also has some excellent music in its anime adaptation – I have quite a few of the OPs & EDs downloaded and even some of the BGM. The voice acting is also very solid……although as with all long running shows the animation quality can be very inconsistent.
Bleach is a very popular series, but I’ve personally fallen out of love with it lately. Due to my completionist nature I can’t drop the series – especially since I’ve invested so much time and money in it; I’m waiting for Kubo to pull out something that will force me to sit up and pay attention again. I hope he does, because Bleach does have plenty of potential left in it.
Ah this is a classic. Kenshin was one of the first series I watched when I discovered the internet and fansubs early on in my descent into otaku-dom. At that stage I was utterly clueless about genres and just went with things I had heard of and liked the look of (and could readily find on YouTube – no downloading on my rubbish connection back then!). I loved Kenshin so much that I bought the DVDs shortly after finishing the TV anime and rewatched it all again! I then did a bit more research and discovered the manga continued the story, so went and got that too as well as the OVAs – which I ended up loving even more than the TV anime!
I’m a sucker for nostalgia, so even though it’s probably been a good 8 years since I last watched or read any of Kenshin, it still sticks out in my mind as a classic. The themes of redemption and honor, the brilliant fights and interesting characters – as well as Kenshin’s dark angsty past and the fact it’s actually got some decent romance; make Rurouni Kenshin a firm favourite of mine. It just seems to have everything I love about anime all wrapped up in an attractive Edo period package.
The character designs appealed to me – yay for bishies (I am a fangirl at heart after all) and the way Kenshin’s dual personality was depicted was interesting. In the TV anime the colour scheme was bright and cheery, but the action scenes were well choreographed and faithful to the manga. The OVA’s were in a league of their own however – Tsuiokuhen blew me away completely and I think I’ve seen it at least 4 times to date. I also have to comment on the music in the anime – I can still remember being impressed by the score, and the 1st ED “Tactics” by The Yellow Monkey as well as the 3rd ED “Heart of Sword – Yoake Mae” by T.M. Revolution both featured as ringtones on my phone for ages!
It’s hard to be objective when clouded by nostalgia so I won’t even try – I’m aware that the series has faults, it was quite melodramatic and the romance was so underplayed it was difficult to detect at times (even with fangirl shipping mode fully engaged) also the anime adaptation degenerated into craptastic filler towards the end that I like to pretend never happened. But all that isn’t enough to dampen my love for the series and its well deserving of its #9 place on my Top Ten Shounen series.
Two series down, eight to go! I’m going to aim for one post a week – dependant on time and RSI flare-ups. The other posts are sort of half written (just not in any kind of coherent order) so hopefully I’ll be able to keep to my target.