My Top Ten Anime Of All Time – #8 Fullmetal Alchemist

Sorry everyone for being missing over the past week. I’ve been sick, but now back to regular scheduling!

The box set cover for Fullmetal Alchemist Season 1 Part 1

8. Fullmetal Alchemist: Before Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, plain old Fullmetal Alchemist was on most people’s to watch list.

My friends were obsessed with Fullmetal Alchemist back in high school. They had watching parties and could be found in the hallways reading the manga. I didn’t pay much attention, already wrapped up in DBZ and Naruto. Then one day I caught an episode of Fullmetal Alchemist on YTV. Soon I was watching it every weekend until the series changed times and I couldn’t catch it anymore.

A few years later I found the four part box set at Best Buy for cheap and snapped it up. I marathoned the entire series like mad woman, thirsting for more. It didn’t take me long to finish the series and watch the movie Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa.

The Conqueror of Shamballa DVD Case - from mcanime.net

Now here I will assert that I have not finished watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. If I had, maybe this would be a joined Fullmetal/Fullmetal post (which no doubt it will be in a few months time).

Fullmetal Alchemist follows the journey of two brothers Ed and Al Elric as they try to restore their bodies after a failed attempt at alchemy to bring their mother back to life; Ed losing a leg and Al’s soul being kept in a large suit of armour. Trying to get Al’s human body back through alchemy, Ed also loses his right arm. A while later a state alchemist named Roy Mustang visits the brothers and tells Ed to join the State Military so the brothers can find a way to give Al his body back and return Ed’s flesh and blood limbs. Ed joins the military believing that being instated will allow him to search for the Philosopher’s Stone, the key to giving Al his human body back.

Homunculi Envy, Lust, and Gluttony

The main antagonists of Fullmetal Alchemist are a vengeful Ishbalan named Scar and a group of homunculi – human looking creatures that carry fragments of the Philosopher’s Stone within them.

Dub vs. Sub: Both are excellent, but I tend to watch the English dub as I like the voice actor for Al better. The dub is also notable for making Vic Mignogna (Ed) a household name. In the end, both the English and Japanese cast is superb so it really comes down to preference.

The meaning of family and the lengths we will go for them is at the heart of Fullmetal Alchemist. Between excellent plot pacing and endearing and enduring characters, it is no wonder why Fullmetal Alchemist is on so many people’s favourite anime lists.

ARMSTRONG!!!!! - From otakia.com

KDW’s embarrassing side note: Okay not so embarrassing, but one of my favourite character’s is Armstrong. He’s ~amazing~ Look at those beautiful muscles! Look at them glimmer and shine!

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My Top 10 Anime Of All Time – #9 Escaflowne

The gang of Escaflowne

9. The Vision of Escaflowne: Whenever I think of the Escaflowne, its battle theme song with its sweeping orchestra and operatic voices comes crashing into my head as clear as the first time I watched the show. Listening to the battle theme and Maaya Sakamoto’s opening song “Yakusoku wa Iranai” never gets tiresome.

Escaflowne started my love of mecha shows, before the days of late night Gundam Wing, Eureka Seven and Rahxephon. It was shown on YTV, slightly less uncut then on a certain American network we dare not speak about. Having been a fan of Sailor Moon, I was excited to hear about Escaflowne’s heroine Hitomi, a track runner who gets sucked into another world called Gaea, when she witnesses a young man battling a dragon on her track field.

In Gaea, Hitomi is drawn into the politics of the world, the young man she met on the track field being Prince Van Fanel of Fanelia, who is waged in war against his brother Folken and the Zaibach Empire; the Zaibach Empire trying to find the ancient city Atlantis so it can hone its legendary power. During her stay in Gaea, Hitomi meets Allen Schezar a swordsman who looks exactly like a track and field runner in her world, a cat like girl named Merle, and a cruel and insane Guymelef pilot named Dilandau (my favorite character, not gonna lie).

My crazy psycho Dilandau - from http://www.animevice.com

The little touches like the Atlanits backstory, Hitomi’s use of tarot cards, and unseen plot twists are what make Escaflowne a great anime. As a kid I didn’t catch all the nuances – I was watching it for the Guymelef fight scenes (which are like mecha) and the love story between Van, Hitomi, and Allen. But re-watching Escaflowne as an adult, made me glad that as a child, I had such an adult and plot driven anime to watch – no offense Pokemon.  Like Sailor Moon had begun to do, I was seeing anime as not just a “gotta catch ‘em all” franchise but as a medium of storytelling that even the best shows on cable have problems conveying now and days.

Both the dub and sub are top notch to me. Since I watched the anime in English when it first came out, that version is closer to my heart. But the Japanese cast is fantastic. Maaya Sakamoto, Tomokazu Seki, and George Nakata, are perfect as Hitomi, Van and Folken.

Escaflowne is in my Top Ten List because of nostalgia, but all because it has some damn fine storytelling and a love story that broke my heart and healed it in one fell swoop. Escaflowne is my favorite mecha anime of all time.

The Escaflowne Movie Cover

Escaflowne: The Movie is a condensed version of the TV series and was released in 2000. Some fans don’t like it, but personally I think it is a great adaption.

KDW’s embarrassing side note: The spelling of Van’s name as a kid always tripped me up. I was like shouldn’t it be “Von?” Van makes me think of the vehicle. I also shipped Dilandau/Folken like burning (and Hitomi/Van of course).

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My Top 10 Anime Of All Time – #10 Slayers

Lina, Gourry, Zel, Xellos, and Amelia - from http://www.animeyume.com

10. Slayers: Slayers was my first foray into anime that wasn’t available on cable. I picked it up at my local video store and gobbled up the first two seasons, loving the interaction between the fierce and ever strong sorcerer Lina Inverse and her lovably dopey sidekick Gourry Gabriev. Slayers starting me on a never ending spiral of VHS watching, consuming everything my video store had to offer (highlights being Tenchi Muyo, Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie, and Maze).

Slayers first started out as a Dungeons and Dragons spoof, but became more as the series evolved. Characters like Zelgadis, a cursed sorcerer who was turned into a chimera; Amelia, the spoiled brat from the kingdom of Seyruun; and Xellos, the sly and mischievous trickster priest, gave the show spunk and limitless gags to work from. The chemistry between Lina, Gourry, Zelgadis, and Amelia is what truly makes Slayers work.

Slayers box set - picture from Amazon

Not everyone will like Slayers. The anime is dated, and the fourth and fifth series lags a bit when they introduce new characters, trying to revive the franchise. Even with the new DVD repackaging (that contains Slayers, Slayers NEXT, and Slayers TRY), Slayers shows its age with grainy animation. But the jokes and heart in Slayers is still relevant, especially for anime fantasy fans.

Voice acting wise, the dub and sub are both really good, but that might be my childhood fondness speaking about the dub. There are a few voice actor changes throughout the series (Zelgadis being the most notable) in the dub, but that is a minor quibble as it doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the anime.

Nostalgia and a good laugh is what keeps’ me coming back to the Slayers. New fans of anime might be deterred from watching the show because of age and the amount of episodes to watch (104), but I think the Slayers still stands on its own two feet, even after 16 years of never ending food and flat chest jokes.

This was my favorite picture of Zelgadis (Which I printed out at school, because it had a ~colour printer~)

KDW’s embarrassing side note: In grade 8 I had pictures of Zelgadis around my room and hated Amelia with a fierce passion since she had a crush on him. I also had a pic of him in my binder. Oh the sadness of youth.

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Robin Williams in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS Commercial

Aww. This video is actually really sweet. Robin and his daughter Zelda, named after Princess Zelda herself, are both self-professed The Legend of Zelda lovers. His daughter is also a pretty awesome actor as well (check her out in Were the World Mine). The beard Robin is sporting is a different matter… he looks like the lovechild of Abraham Lincoln and Santa.

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Super Pokemon Scramble Trailer

The Pokemon franchise is back with Super Pokemon Scramble (sequel to Pokemon Rumble on the Wii), a Pokemon  Mystery/Pokemon Stadium hybrid. Looks alright. Graphics look pretty decent. As for gameplay… who knows yet. (High on mini games, I’m guessing.)

Side note: I loved Pokemon Stadium as a kid like no one’s business. I used to have Pokemon Stadium challenges at my house and beat all my friends into dust at the Hypno and Lickatung mini games. (Jigglypuff’s mini game on the other hand was a the bane of my shorter self’s existence.) As a kid the mini games and Stadium battles were super fun and being able to download my Pokemon from Pokemon Yellow was a big plus. I crammed so many hours into that and Pokemon Snap, it’s ridiculous.

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iPod Magic – Deceptions

Warning: This video contains slight of hand tricks that may befuddle you and some really groovy technology that may make you jealous.

Magician Marco Tempest (also known as the Virtual Magician) uses three iPods for a wild techno version of Three-card Monte.

How well did he deceive you?

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Star Trek Video Game Trailer (E3 2011)

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Kirk and Spock hit the video game world.

This doesn’t look half-bad as I’m getting Mass Effect tingles all over. But will it be good? Most movies that transition into video games suck ass. However, as this game is suppose to be set between the Star Trek 2009 remake and its future sequel, Digital Extremes might of had more free reign in design and story telling, thereby putting a lot of love in it… we can only hope.

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