Stray Thoughts: Anime Suggestions

Maybe I finally started watching anime because there’s a healthy sample of patrons at my library who regularly check out the DVDs we offer.  Or maybe I got frustrated enough with the various Abridged Series on YouTube that I actually wanted to start looking for something that would appeal to me past the pop culture jokes.  (Don’t get me wrong–I love the stuff put out by people like Team Four Star & they’re talented people, but I think I’ve had my fill of supernatural fighting tournaments.)  Whatever the the spark was that caused my curiosity to catch, I’ve spent the last few months exploring the vast world of anime & have been enjoying myself immensely.

With a few key suggestions from my BF & a handy copy of The Rough Guide to Anime, I’ve been working my way from Studio Ghibli’s films to Satoshi Kon’s mindscrew dramas to the super-pretty, atmospheric meditations on relationships by Makoto Shinkai and onward.  Some of what I’ve been watching lately have included:

Gankutsuou or The Count of Monte Cristo: a supernatural/sci-fi hybrid retelling of the French novel The Count of Monte Cristo.  This opulently designed series has intrigue, romance, swashbuckling, revenge, Carnivál on the Moon, opera, mechs designed to look like avenging angels, and theme music done by the lead singer of The Stranglers.  It sounds ridiculously extravagant but ohmyGOD were there times that the story brought me to tears.

Le Chevalier D’Eon: an alternate history of the events leading up to the French Revolution with (again) some supernatural stuff mixed in.  The real cross-dressing Charles, chevalier d’eon de Beaumont is represented in this story as a loyal-to-the-crown French noble who periodically becomes possessed by the vengeful spirit of his sister murdered in service to the king.  I’ve really taken to this series because there are a lot of thematic similarities between this & Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater–particularly the idea of how to best serve the spirit & ideals of one’s country as well as the role language has in shaping authority & power.  And it also features one of the first J-pop songs I’ve become obsessed with.

Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro: (Speaking of Metal Gear Solid. . .) I will tell you here & now that I watched this mainly because David Hayter was one of the English voice actor for the main character, Lupin.  But, I was also pleasantly surprised to find the movie itself was a kinetic, charming movie that recalled older adventure movies that combined daring heists with comedic touches.  Super fun with an old-fashioned romance thrown in!

Aaaaaaaand to keep track of this new uptick of video watching, I’ve joined Letterboxd, a social media platform that promises to be like Goodreads for movies.  So hopefully I’ll get a few more good suggestions from there as well.  There’s still plenty of more anime out there to enjoy, but I’m definitely having a good time uncovering new (to me) stuff!