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The Top Ten Series: Shounen (Part I)

April 21, 2010

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.

10. Bleach

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.

9. Rurouni Kenshin

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.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2010 3:15 am

    Woah, Kenshin only #9? You could argue that the OVAs can’t be rightly categorized as “shounen anime” anymore, but Kyoto Arc is the crowned jewel of the shounen-fighting genre. Well, I guess your tastes are going to be different than mine, just sayin’.

    • April 22, 2010 12:27 pm

      The Kyoto arc was indeed excellent, although it was a bit predictable and linear too…….and I suppose the OVAs are bit too dark to truly be termed ‘shounen’…..hmmm

      I’ve watched quite alot of shounen series – it was so difficult to trim the list down to just 10! I tried to go outside of myself, but at the end of the day my lists are completely dependant on what kind of mood I was in when finalising them. We’ll have to see what you think of my other selections!

  2. April 22, 2010 10:19 am

    Top lists rock, cause it’s always something different than episodes summaries 🙂

    Abuot Bleach:

    I completely agree with you, first ARC made me go crazy for it, I became Bleach fan and started discussing it on forums etc. (Even though at this point I already hated Orihime and Chad, who I consider two worst characters in Shounens ever) But the main problem is that Pierrot, the studio responsible stopped worrying about the quality. First it was Bounto filler, then it’s over, we come back to manga – and guess what? Now they switched whole music OST to the one from 1st arc + Bounto. Felt completely wrong, plus that quality.. I just couldn’t NOT drop it. Of course it’s also Kubo’s fault, I’m reading manga only because it’s ridiculous, not interesting or thrilling.

    It definitely deserves last spot.

    • April 22, 2010 12:32 pm

      The fact I’ve decided to start posting these lists up has nothing to do with the fact the AniBlog Tourney provided the necessary kick up the arse ……*cough*

      Orihime and Chad are so fecking dull, its hard to accept they’re meant to be ‘main characters’.

      I didnt mind the Bounto arc too much – then again I was comparing it to Naruto filler…….enough said.

      I read the manga just see what lame asspull is going to happen next – but it doesnt even inspire me to take the piss out of it the way the Naruto manga does 😆

  3. April 22, 2010 11:00 am

    I won’t act all cool and edgy by hating Bleach, since I did enjoy it for its Soul Society arc, but everything thereafter, well….

    • April 22, 2010 12:33 pm

      I think most people feel the same way – Soul Society was excellent and had some epic fights…..after that Kubo just either got lazy (Hueco Mundo is basically an inferior Soul Society all over again) or lost his mojo.

      • April 22, 2010 4:46 pm

        Or Hueco Mundo could all be just Aizen’s illusion for all we know!

        • April 22, 2010 6:02 pm

          That actually sounds like it could happen 😛

  4. April 22, 2010 3:34 pm

    I’m waiting for Kubo to pull out something that will force me to sit up and pay attention again.

    Waiting… in vain.

    Seriously, I love Bleach and all but dear lord it’s like watching your favourite dog slowly die from an illness. Over 5 years. I think I said all I wanted in my post on the show (I know, I know I’m a whore) :

    Still need to check out Kenshin, it’s one of the basic shounens that I should have watched but just… haven’t.

    • April 22, 2010 6:05 pm

      Waiting in vain

      I know, but I’m an eternal (if completely misguided) optimist……maybe once its over I’ll get to sit back and say “I knew I was right to hold onto my hopes”…….doubtful, but miracles could happen!

      Kenshin is definately a classic, well worth a look.

      *goes to read post*

  5. mefloraine permalink
    April 22, 2010 9:20 pm

    These seem like they’ll be an interesting post series.
    I like your viewpoints. \o/

    • April 22, 2010 9:27 pm

      Thanks! I do like lists, plus these give me a legitimate reason to fangirl about some of my favourite series 🙂

  6. April 23, 2010 11:01 am

    your title seems misleading since theres only two series 😛

    • April 23, 2010 12:42 pm

      But it says that its ‘Part I’! If I attempted to put them all into one post it would be miles long……you know what I’m like once I get going 😆

      • April 24, 2010 10:41 am

        yeah I then remembered how you split these kinds of posts :p Your fangasming is entertaining 🙂

        I wonder what will be first :beard:

  7. April 24, 2010 11:08 am

    I don’t do well with really long series. The endless possibilities seem to kill my enthusiasm for watching, as a result I dropped Bleach right after he got back from Soul Society.

    I was enjoying Rurouni Kenshin, but only made it through the first season. I have heard the OVAs were even better, but that they shouldn’t be watched until after the third season. Something I’ld like to try to get back to some day.

    • April 25, 2010 1:32 am

      I seem to be easily addicted and am fairly reluctant to drop things after investing alot of time in them, so I do quite well with long series. You were wise to drop Bleach after Soul Society though, saves you for the whole jaded thing most fans are experiencing.

      Kenshin is excellent, the OVAs even more so. My brother liked the OVA’s well enough without watching the TV series before hand, although I personally would recommend watching the TV series first.

  8. May 5, 2010 11:21 pm

    Bleach as number 10? I am insulted. :@ The latest manga and anime episode was like WOAH, sooooo amazing, I’m still excited from it and can’t concentrate on my french!

    • May 6, 2010 12:00 am

      I’m completely jaded by Bleach, nothing about it really excites me unfortunately. As I said, it makes me sad that I can’t love it any more.

      On another note, come back to me when you’ve watched something other than Bleach to compare it to! Maybe try something else from these lists of mine, I promise you won’t regret expanding your shounen horizons! 😆

      Oh and thanks for the pretty banner ^_^

  9. JJJ permalink
    April 12, 2011 11:56 pm

    hi, i got onto ur list and i like how u wrote it out…problem is i want to see the ending…any chance i cud get a spoiler?
    I’m watchin naruto shipuuden right now and am tired of waiting for weekly episodes and want to start watching something similar to that. Any help?

    • April 13, 2011 7:36 am

      Hey~! Do you mean you want to read the other entries on the list? I have links to the other posts on this page – I’d highly recommend Hunter X Hunter or Yu Yu Hakusho (or anything from this list really) as complete alternatives to waiting for weekly Shippuden fixes!

  10. Brandon permalink
    June 25, 2013 6:22 am

    Currently I’m watching Bleach and I think it’s cool but, it has too many filler episodes like Naruto that takes away the entertainment factor.I know the same goes with Rurouni Kenshin but I haven’t watched it yet.

  11. Brandon permalink
    June 25, 2013 6:24 am

    The characters in Bleach have extremely stylish designs and that’s what I love about them 🙂 and Ichigo Kurosaki is also in my top 10 Anime characters.


  1. The Top Ten Series: Shounen (Part III) « Caraniel's Ramblings

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