a:link {color: cream; } a:hover {color: red; } A random selection of anime titles

SOME OVERVIEWS ON A RANDOM SELECTION OF ANIME TITLES
(with a few links to other fan-sites)

AA, MEGAMI-SAMA See OH MY GODDESS.

AH, MY GODDESS See OH MY GODDESS.

Akazukin Chacha

AKAZUKIN CHACHA About the life of a young red-hooded witch going to Magic School, her friends, and their adventures against a series of enemies sent by a foe whose face we never see. It is not until the second season we find out she is also an exiled princess.

AKIRA When Akira's ESP kicked in, he accidentally started World War 3. A generation later, the leader of a future motorcycle gang gets more involved with ESP, future politics, and orbital lasers than he would like, when a junior gang-member gets powers to rival Akira's. (Missing from the movie version is a scene where the moon gets a hole 25% of its diameter punched through it. Now that is mind power.) The makers had a really big budget, enabling them to use such things as a non-standard colour pallet, and do such tricks as have characters walk and talk at the exact same time.

ABENOBASHI MAHO SHOTENGAI Arumi and Sassi grow up in Abenobashi, in Osaka. (The title translates to "The Abenobashi Magical Shopping District".) After Arumi's parents decide to move away, the two children find themselves whisked away -- Sliders fashion -- to the first of a series of parallel worlds. After a while, a pattern begins to develop, in the course of which no anime cliche is safe.

ALL-PURPOSE CULTURAL CAT-GIRL NUKU NUKU A scientist installs the brain of his son's dead cat into a hyper-powerful android that resembles a teenage girl. (The Japanese seem to have a thing about combining girls and cats.) Result: instant big sister for the boy. In the meantime, the boy's mother wants her son back, aided by heaps of family money and The Secretaries From Hell. A custody battle that has to be seen to be believed follows.
There are three Nuku Nuku variations that I know of: (1) The original OAVs (see above). (2) All-Purpose Cultural Cat-girl Nuku Nuku Dash! in which the parents are still together, and the boy is older and more hormonally active, looking at Nuku Nuku in a totally non-brotherly fashion. He does not know she is an android, nor does he recognise her when she swings into action, due to a secret identity gimmick. (3) The t.v. series, which concentrates more on Nuku Nuku's school life, is more like the original series, although once again the parents are still together.

APPLESEED After an Apocalyptic war, survivors are brought to Olympus, a high-tech place involved in building a new world founded in peace. It is not going to be made easy, of course. The story focuses mainly on two people recruited to counter terrorism: Briareos, and Deunan Knute, the latter of whom wears an eye-catching sensor array.

ARCADIA OF MY YOUTH After the conquest of Earth by an alien empire, Captain Harlock turns space pirate in the course of his battle against tyranny. (And when I say space pirate, I am talking space ship with sails and fluttering Jolly Roger and the works!) Set in the same universe as Galaxy Express 999.

AREA 88 Japanese pilot gets betrayed by his best friend, and finds himself fighting as a mercenary jet pilot in a war in the Mid-East. If he shoots down enough of the enemy, he will earn sufficient bounty money to buy his freedom. The main problem with this system is that additional expenses such as ammunition and replacement aircraft must come from the bounty money. In the meantime he fears he is starting to like his new job.

Armitage III

ARMITAGE III On Mars, someone is murdering humanoid robots. The robots ("thirds") look so realistic, the male half of the detective team is slow in waking up to the fact that his partner is one. (This would be one dickens of a twist, were it not telegraphed by the title.) The plot thickens when it is discovered that taking simulation to new heights one of the dead robots was pregnant.

ARMOUR SOLDIER MELLOWLINK The sole survivor of a betrayed platoon goes on a quest of vengeance, against all odds.

ASSEMBLE INSERT This is an anime in which the characters admit to being in an anime based on a manga in which the characters admitted to being in a manga. ("Assemble insert" is a printer's term.) When the power-suited Demon Seed organisation goes on an unhindered crime-spree, the police try to save face by finding a super hero who can go against the power suits hand to hand. After they find a girl who fits their needs, the damage costs from the battles of good vs evil soon exceeds the cost of the crimes, and the police image is worse than ever.

BAOH The story starts with a girl and her pet...whatever-that-thing-is, on the run from a secret organisation which wants her for her paranormal abilities. She joins forces with a man who has been infected by a genetically engineered life-form courtesy of the same organisation that turns him into a super-being. As even one BAOH running loose is too many, the pair get some sometimes ridiculously powerful assassins sent after them. Have you heard the maxim that any story is allowed one basic impossibility? The creators of this haven't, and seem to have thrown in everything bar the kitchen sink.

BASTARD When an evil wizard threatens all creation, one kingdom resurrects the legendary Dark Schneider, thereby turning to a cure that could be worse than the disease. Watch out for the Heavy Metal in-jokes.

BATTLE ANGEL In a junk-yard wilderness, beneath a floating super-city nobody is allowed to enter, a man finds what remains of a girl cyborg. In this detachable-limb future he rebuilds her, and raises her like a daughter. Gally ("Alita" in the English-language comics translation) falls in love with a boy who is saving up to migrate to that city in the clouds. She decides to help him raise the funds needed, and join him later, in the sky. When she discovers she has an income-boosting flair for bounty hunting, Daddy is not pleased. Where does the feeling come from that all this is not building up to a happy ending?

BATTLE OF THE PLANETS Boy, did this one get worked over being translated into English. After all the excessive violence had been trimmed out, even with commercials added, the shows ran under time. An R2D2 clone called 7-Zark-7 was added. His main function was to add philosophical bits (small-child level), and explain why the person who was obviously killed in today's episode was really still alive. In the series, present-day Earth is getting worked over by a series of giant robots. In the translation, it is the future, and the damage gets spread around a series of colony worlds. (Sometimes with odd results. Just why did Earth bother to send a 19th century sailing ship to a water world, just to strand it in a sargasso sea?) An hermaphrodite villain who tends sometimes to male, sometimes to female, is rendered permanently male. A central character who is dying of a brain tumour or something is rendered totally healthy, yet 7-Zark-7 still finds it necessary to state that maybe he looks a little under the weather, and hopes he gets over his cold soon. Another time, a traitor is given a severe verbal reprimand, while bruises mysteriously appear on his face. The giant metal monsters doing all the invading are called robots, however in one episode where it is essential to the plot, one of the war machines is seen to have a human crew. The series builds to a climax in which the villains get their come-uppance, and some of the good guys cash in their chips. This final episode was so violent that by the time all the cuts were made, nothing was left. In the English version, the series has no ending. Somewhere in the cosmos, we're still getting trashed by one giant robot a week. Called Gachaman in Japan (now you know what the "G" in "G-Force" stands for) this became the inspiration for the Gekiganger series watched by the characters in Nadesico.

THE BIG O In Paradigm City, Roger Smith works as a Negotiator in a civilisation that has survived everybody coming down with total amnesia forty years earlier. Occasional surges of development occur when some individual recovers a fragment of memory from before the big disaster. The general public is still too uneasy to go down into the dark, scary labyrinth of the former underground transport system, which serves as a massive Bat Cave for Smith. And the cave analogy is far from the only similarity to the Batman series. The truly major difference is that instead of dressing up as a bat to fight evil, Smith climbs into a giant robot. This multi-storey machine, sometimes referred to as "the Megadeus" and sometimes as "Big O" (and that is "oh" not "zero") can be trundled through the underground transport system to surface anywhere Smith wants it in seemingly as much as forty-five seconds. If you see nothing else, see the first two episodes.

BIRDY THE MIGHTY A girl from the stars, in the course of helping protect us from the scum of the universe, half kills a boy who gets to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The only way to save his life involves a merger of the sort Ranma ½ fans are already familiar.

BLACK JACK Based on a manga by Osamu "the Walt Disney of Japan" Tezuka, this is far darker than anything Walt ever came up with. Black Jack is a scarred recluse, who gets drawn into bizarre situations only his incredible medical genius can resolve. (There is a regular character who looks like a little girl, but delights in introducing herself as Black Jack's lover. Her somewhat Frankensteinian origin is explained in an earlier story, which I am not sure has ever been animated.)

BLACK MAGIC M-66 After a plane crash, an assassin android goes after the target in its test program, namely the granddaughter of its inventor. A reporter, trying to investigate the crash, gets involved in the frantic efforts to keep the girl alive.

BLUE SEED Distasteful though the forces of good find it, only periodic ritual human sacrifice can send the forces of darkness (the Aragami) into temporary dormancy, thereby saving the bacon of the rest of us. A teenage girl is less than delighted to find she is due to be the next sacrifice. (Or will be. In the episodes I have seen, she seems to be a bit vague on her actual role in the scheme of things, despite hitting some incredibly unsubtle clues.) She has an evil twin, which may be a possible out for her by series end.

BLUE SUBMARINE No. 6 The oceans are rising, the Van Allen Belt is failing, aquatic humanoids and murderous mecha harass the surviving air-breathers, yet no matter how bad things get ... they always get worse. All of humanity's problems have one common factor: Zorndyke. It is all his fault. When the Blue Submarine Fleet approaches Tetsu Hayami for aid in episode one, he refuses to get involved. However fate and the series' writer have other ideas, and he is soon up to his ears in things anyway. Great computer animation makes up for the frustration early in the series of wondering just what is going on, as the background is slowly established.

BUBBLE GUM CRISIS In a future heavily inspired by Bladerunner, a small group of girls in power-suits stands between Genom (a soul-less mega-corporation) and world domination. (Genom got its start by rebuilding Tokyo after a really major earthquake. So just how soul-less is it? It caused the quake to start with! This gem of information never appears in the BGC OAVs, by the way, but it does in BGC's sister series AD Police.) It does not pay to befriend any of these girls, as you would most certainly get killed. However they will avenge your death. (This series was originally to run 13 episodes. A little over half-way through, the two companies producing it underwent a messy divorce, splitting the creative team. The one with the rights went on to do the sequel Bubble Gum Crash, which might have been all right so long as you were totally unaware of what came before. Crash did things like ignoring Genom and not following up on things like Leon's discovery of Priss being a Knight Saber ... and then fizzled out well short of the intended run.)

BUBBLE GUM CRISIS 2040 Years after the Bubble Gum Crisis OAVs comes this well-worth-a-look t.v series, with its frequently agonising cliffhanger endings. Events of the original stories could comfortably be inserted into the middle of this, so long as one is willing to overlook some incredibly major details. With BGC 2040 (even the year in which things take place is different) the makers started from scratch. Everything is a lot less Bladerunner-ish, Genom triggered the Tokyo quake out of desperation rather than for financial gain, major characters have been redesigned, while other characters have been not so much redesigned as replaced. People coming fresh to BGC 2040 will have a less agonising time than those of us who remember the original BGC. All loose ends get tied up by the finish, but the plot threads which the original series left dangling will tantalise people for a long time yet. BGC 2040 does not have the same "grip" as its predecessor, but nor does it leave the bad taste in the mouth that Bubblegum Crash did.

CARD CAPTOR SAKURA After young schoolgirl Sakura accidentally looses the elemental beings sealed in a deck of Clow (rhymes with "glow") cards on the world, it falls on her to get them all back. This might seem like Pandora putting the world's woes back in the box, but Sakura has the assistance of Kero a creature who, so long as he holds perfectly still in public, can pass as a teddy-bear (albeit a winged, tailed one) and the ability to call on the powers of the cards she has captured and resealed in previous episodes. (Beware of the mind-numbing English translation of this series, which, apart from such expectable tamperings as ignoring some same-sex infatuations, made enough alterations to rename the series "Card Captors")

CHARCOAL FEATHER FEDERATION In the walled city of Guri, Haibane are protected by a powerful religious caste. The series begins with one of these Haibane, Rakka, as she emerges from her cocoon fully grown. Seemingly fully human herself, she is surrounded by people with wings and haloes. As with these others she has no pre-cocoon-emergence memories save a recollection of something vague, in her case something about falling. The halo she is given does not take to floating above her head immediately, and at first has to be propped into place. After her wings grow (with grey feathers always it is grey feathers) the halo learns to stay in place by itself. We learn about Rakka's world as she does, meeting the other Haibane, encountering the normal humans who live in the city too, finding out about the nomadic traders who are only ones who can enter and leave the city, and learning about the things she can and can not do. One thing all Haibane get around to doing eventually is to suddenly and permanently vanish. The extraordinary is made ordinary throughout this series, which never has a problem holding the viewer's interest.

CHOBITS In the near future, walking talking human-shaped personal computers (pasocons) are common. They are still outside the price-range of Hideki, a struggling student, who one day finds one being thrown out with the garbage. Due to no boot disk and a lack of programming, all that she can say when she is switched on is "Chii", thereby naming herself. Unlike any other pasocon in a similar state, Chii can acquire and use knowledge, and very soon learns what to call her master (Hideki), the refrigerator (Hideki), the door (Hideki), and everything else, (Hideki). She quickly gets beyond this as she continues to learn, and the series builds seriously, while always remaining funny.

COMBUSTIBLE CAMPUS GUARDRESS It's that time of millennium when the gate separating our world and the realm of the Dark Ones is about to open, flooding us with things we do not want to get flooded with. The only thing that stands in the way of the demons is a Japanese high school. Kind of makes you feel sorry for the demons, doesn't it? Still, I was not expecting the ending.

COO A boy living on a Fijian island with his father finds a baby plesiosaurus on the beach. All progresses swimmingly for a while, until the fact of the dinosaur's existence comes to the attention of certain people who are just Not Nice. The first half of this movie works quite well, but it goes on for about an hour too long.

COSMO POLICE JUSTY In the future, Justy is a cop with super-psi powers. He seemingly has a simple but adoring younger sister who dotes on him. Actually she is the amnesiac daughter of a criminal he was forced to kill in front of her. When his worst enemies find out about this, along with the interesting titbit that the girl is latently even more powerful than Justy, they plot to get rid of their enemy by giving the girl back her memory.

COWBOY BEBOP A tale of bounty hunters in space. At the start there are only two of them, but over the course of the early episodes there is an increase in the numbers of our protagonists. In the process we learn a little more about their pasts, and about the history of the future in which they live (which explains why Earth gets constant bombardments of moon rock).

CRAYON SHIN CHAN a Japanese Dennis the Menace. (One major difference between him and DtM is the sexual orientation of some of the humour.)

CREST OF THE STARS Order in the galaxy is imposed by the human-descended Abh. Jinto, a fully human member of the nobility of one planet conquered by the Abh Empire, is being sent off-world by his somewhat-Quisling father for an education. Thus he meets the Abh princess Lafiel just as interstellar war breaks out between Abh idealists and human rebels. The war is still raging three years later, when the sequel-series Banner of the Stars begins.

THE CRIMSON PIG As the result of a supernatural encounter in World War 1, a pilot (Porco Rosso) is stuck with the appearance of a pig. In the Adriatic in the late 1920s, pilots left penniless by the Depression turn to sky piracy. Rosso turns to pirate hunting. Probably the most bizarre part of this story is the American character whose ambition is to become a movie star and the president of the United States of America. (As if that could happen in real life.) Much attention is paid to detail and authenticity, particularly with aircraft of the period.

CRUSHER JOE In the future, the Crusher family goes trouble-shooting on an interstellar scale. The series focuses on Joe Crusher and his team. In one story, briefly, two girls are seen on-screen at a drive-in movie. This was the first time the Dirty Pair were seen anywhere. This brief glimpse caused such a stir among the fans they were brought back in a series of their own. They are now more famous than Crusher Joe. (One rumour among the fans is that Yuri one of the Dirty Pair is Joe's mother.)

DAGGER OF KAMUI Framed for the murder of his parents, a nineteenth-century samurai trying to learn about his past journeys from Japan to America and back, before his quest is over.

DEEP BLUE FLEET Armed with a knowledge of our time-line, the Japanese make World War 2 come out so that the right side wins. I would like to see a translation of this story, if just to understand what happens next, which seems to involve a world cruise in a really big submarine with its own aircraft hangar.

DEMON CITY SHINJUKU No sane law-abiding person lives in Tokyo since the day it became over-run by the forces of darkness. Back then, one man gave his life to prevent the demons taking over the whole world. Now his son enters the city, aiding a girl looking for her kidnapped father.

DETECTIVE CONAN High school super-detective follows in the footsteps of his idol, Sherlock Holmes. In the process he makes business hard for rival detectives such as his girl-friend's father. As if this alone was not enough to hang a series on, he gets a dose of poison that has never been tested on human subjects, and before you can say "disappearing body mass" is physically de-aged back to a child. He moves in with his girl friend and her father, both of whom are unaware of who he really is, and keeps on solving cases while trying to look like he isn't.

DETONATOR ORGUN I've seen this as a dubbed, live action movie, constructed from a TV series. It was terrible. The anime is a vast improvement. Earth gets invaded, and the outclassed military forces use their brains. (As opposed to such organisations as the AD Police in Bubble Gum Crisis who wade into armoured killer-mechs, while equipped with little better than slingshots, pea-shooters, and lots of body bags.)

DEVIL HUNTER YOKO Teenage girl suddenly finds herself inheriting a family business she never suspected existed, that of hunting and fighting Mamono (devils). It skipped a generation when her mother got pregnant too early, but now her ninja granny has to instruct her in what to do before the forces of hell pull a pre-emptive strike. (The thing that got me was all those photographs of the 107 previous generations of devil hunters. That's "photographs"!)

DEVILMAN Our hero is so noble and pure of heart that when a demon tries to possess him, he absorbs it. Result: Occult powers. But you don't absorb a demon and get off scot free.

Kei and Yuri - Dirty Pair

DIRTY PAIR Two female trouble-shooters, Kei and Yuri, always accomplish their mission in the end, but it does not pay to be an innocent bystander when they go into action. Actually it just does not pay to be an innocent bystander on the same planet, whatever they are doing. (These two also probably hold the record for in-joke walk-ons into other animated shows.) Followed by a prequel series in which they are younger and drawn slightly differently, called Dirty Pair Flash.

DNA2 In the future the world suffers from a major population problem, and one present day high school student is going to be personally responsible for most of it. (Him, his descendants who share his ESP-based attractiveness to women, and his imitators.) The future decides to cut the problem off at the source by sending back a young female population-control officer with the DNA-based antidote. The Don-Juan-to-be gets nauseous at the sight of excessive amounts of female flesh, but she gives him the cure anyway. Now she can carry out her dream of finding her ideal man, making him more ideal with a DNA modifier, and.... Oops! (Hey, it wasn't her fault the cure and the modifier looked so much alike.)

DOMINION: TANK POLICE In the future, the police use tanks. Talk about a war against crime.

DORAEMON The adventures of a boy with a robot cat his descendants have sent to him from the future.

DOCTOR SLUMP AND ARALE Doctor Slump builds himself an android daughter. An over-the-top comedy.

Dragon Half

DRAGON HALF Instead of slaying the dragon he was supposed to kill, a knight marries her instead. The story is about their daughter Mink, a dragon-half, who falls for rock-star Dick Saucer, who is also a dragon slayer. Worth watching for the closing credits alone.

DREAM HUNTER REM Girl fights evil by using her power to project herself and her pets into the dream-world, where everything is quite a bit different.

DUAL A boy is sent into a parallel universe by the mad scientist father of a girl at his school. He realises he truly is in another time line when his parents fail to recognise him, and he sees giant robots walking the streets. The plan was for him to contact the scientist's counterpart, who would then send him back. Unfortunately this time-line is stricken by a global crisis, and getting home is not going to be as simple as that.

EARTHIAN I've only seen this unsubtitled, without even a plot outline. There's an awful lot of talking, but the main theme emerges with total clarity. You can't trust men in sunglasses!

EIGHT MAN AFTER There was a 1960s t.v. series about a murdered policeman brought back in an android body. The series was incredibly watered-down in the Western release. (In the one episode I saw, Eight Man spends what feels like five minutes explaining that although it may look like he is smoking a cigarette, he really isn't.) Eight Man After made in the wake of Robocop (the story of a murdered policeman brought back in an android body) brings back the characters who survived the earlier series, and will be something of a jolt to people who remember the original as it was seen here.

ESCAFLOWNE OF THE HEAVENS See VISION OF ESCAFLOWNE

EVANGELION See NEON GENESIS EVANGELION

FAIRY PRINCESS REN A bloke who falls off tall buildings a lot and who is looking for treasure finds a fairy who is looking for magic artifacts to save her own world. Meantime an evil fairy teams up with his girlfriend. There is an amusement park, and dialogue that is a translator's nightmare is delivered at a speed that is a subtitler's nightmare. Incredible sight gags.

FAM AND IRI In the aftermath of a great magical civilisation which destroyed itself, the heroines of the title make a living scavenging the old ruins in search of items of power...and make no mistake, there is some really powerful stuff out there which unfortunately certain others know about.

FANCY LALA See MAGICAL STAGE FANCY LALA.

FIRETRIPPER A gas explosion sends a teenage girl back in time to civil-war-prone medieval Japan. She falls in with a village and its warrior protector, and searches for the young boy caught up with her in the time-slip. People fond of neatness will like the way the time-travel element tidies up the story threads.

FUSHIGI YÛGI In a closed-off part of a library, two girls discover an old book with the title "The Four Gods of the Earth and Sky ". Its prologue tells of a girl who was transported to another land, but also turns out to be an incantation to transport (a la The Never Ending Story) the reader to the same land. Soon enough the girls find themselves in ancient China, on opposite sides, with magic, warrior-protectors, and political intrigue all over the place.

GALL FORCE It is a war to the finish between the Solnoid (an all-female race) and the Paranoid (a liquid life form)...particularly after both races get planet-smashing and star-destroying weapons. Obviously influenced by Alien, this has a twist-ending you are already acquainted with you've just never seen it done in Japanese before.

GATEKEEPERS It is 1969 and Earth is under attack. The invaders do what comes naturally and home-in on Tokyo. Fortunately Earth's secret defence force AEGIS has Ruriko, a girl who can tap into a high level of power called The Gate of Life. She is soon joined by Shun, who can tap into The Gate of the Whirlwind. New Gatekeepers appear as the invaders get more powerful, and the general public of 1969 remains oblivious to it all.

GENOCYBER Lots of people get unexpectedly dissected alive for no particular reason.

GHOST IN THE SHELL In the future, some people like counter-cyber-terrorism heroine Motoko Kusanagi have had their entire bodies replaced with cybernetic parts. (Their essence of self, or "ghost", remains.) Refraining from going into cybernetic replacement will not save you from unscrupulous hackers who think nothing of reprogramming your mind if it serves their ends. One such hacker is the Puppet Master, who may be human or computer generated...or something more involved. Kusanagi finds herself tangled in a government cover-up before her group's investigations are through.

GHOST SWEEPER MIKAMI For any problems with the supernatural, from unwanted spirits on the tennis court to ghosts in the space shuttle, call Ghost Sweeper Mikami.

GIANT ROBO  A kid controls a giant robot via a device like a watch, and teams up with hyper-powerful members of the International Police Force, against an evil organisation called Big Fire.

THE GIRL FROM FANTASIA Thinking a colourful rug will help him land his girlfriend, the boy who gets it finds it is a gateway to another realm. The first thing through is a girl who forms an immediate attachment to him. As if explaining this to his girlfriend was not bad enough, other things come through into our world.

GITS See GHOST IN THE SHELL

GOKU: MIDNIGHT EYE See MIDNIGHT EYE GOKU

GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES A teenage boy and his young sister attempt to survive fire-bombings and starvation in 1945 Japan. Don't expect a feel-good movie. The really harrowing part of this story is that it is autobiographical.

GUNBUSTER As soon as Earth discovers FTL travel, it runs afoul of a space-faring species whose life-cycle involves destroying stars. The best defence against them involves blowing up the galaxy. Thanks to relativistic distortion, the giant-robot-piloting heroine gets a compressed view of unfolding history.

GUNDAM In this series of series and movies, charting a future involving giant orbital settlements, giant robots, and inevitable warfare, there is one brief moment where Sydney gets turned into the world's deepest crater. War In the Pocket particularly stands out.

GUNHED A live action movie that (a) resembles an anime more than any other live action movie ever made, and (b) could fit into the Terminator chronology with a minimum of alterations. Japanese characters speak Japanese, American characters speak English (until they get killed off), and the computer speaks English. This enables most of the plot to be followable. (There is now an English-dubbed version.)

HAMELN THE VIOLINIST The major problem with this is the name of the protagonist. Other characters have names like "Flute" and "Oboe". His sounds like "Hamelin" on the sound track, although the way it is spelled in Japanese in the credits could be translated as either "Ham-rune" or "Ham-loon". In every episode I have seen it has been consistently subtitled as "Hameln" which is the present-day spelling of the name of the town in Robert Browning's poem and even then the title of the OAV is translated as The Violinist of Hamelin. (The chief cause of all this kerfuffle is that when The Pied Piper of Hamelin was translated into Japanese, "Hamelin" was updated to its present-day name. This causes no problems until the name is translated from Japanese back into English. Some translators know about Hamelin/Hameln and the Pied Piper tribute, and others do not.)
Wherever or whenever this is, the violinist and his musical friends travel about fighting monsters and righting wrongs, while on the course of putting a princess (who was raised as a commoner) on her rightful throne. The t.v. series is somewhat dark and serious, unlike the OAV (which I think was originally a cinema-release in Japan). Even then, if that is a violin I would hate to see a bass fiddle. Hameln has to throw it over his shoulder to play it. The bloke with the real problem in carrying his instrument is, I suppose, the piano player.

HI-SPEED JECY A pacifist sets out through the galaxy with sentient ship and a girl pretending to be his sister on a quest of revenge against the killers of his parents.

HYPER-POLICE With the number of genetically engineered humanoid animals around, humans seem to be in the minority in this future city. This is the story of one of the mixed-species bounty-hunter companies, which along with the police keeps law and order. It has another cat-girl in it, so you know you can't go too wrong.

ICZER 1 Female warrior comes to Earth to battle the Really Bad Guys (clearly called the "Cthulhu" in spoken dialogue, but subtitled as "Kthuwulf" for copyright reasons) to save the universe. Sometimes the battles take place in an alternate plane, other times combatants just trash the city around them as they fight. Iczer One must team up with a normal Earth girl, Nagisa, who acts as a psychic battery of some sort. Nagisa's main function seems to be to float naked inside a fluid vat inside Iczer One's giant robot. Eventually, a total victory is achieved against the forces of darkness.

lCZER 3 Did I say a total victory against the forces of darkness? That was in a parallel world. In this world identical to the first except for the climax Big Gold survives to menace another day. Most of the human race gets it in the neck, even with Iczer One's inexperienced sister on hand to save the universe. Nagisa, or at least a descendant of hers with the same name, gets to float naked inside a giant robot again, only this time with strategically placed metal bits to thwart the voyeurs among the viewers. (I am not clear why the self-censorship on this one.) Iczer Two got her come-uppance in the first story, (the numbers refer to the characters, not the stories, so Iczer3 is actually the second lczer story) but still manages to put in an appearance by the end.

lCZELLION Suits of sentient armour come to Earth, and seek out like-minded human hosts to wear them. At first the other suits of armour think that the one who got Nagisa has made a bad mistake.

IRRESPONSIBLE CAPTAIN TAILOR A major idiot (or at the very least, a totally irresponsible twit) gets command of a space-ship full of losers, and bumbles his way to victory.

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE You want weird? You got weird! Take the concept of super powers. Now instead of having these powers themselves, and stripping down to their underwear to fight crime, the central characters have the ability to generate things called Stands, and these...uh...creatures have the powers. Sample: JoJo and his friends find some men who have drowned in the middle of the desert. The culprit is a blind man using a water Stand which homes in on the slightest sound, so they do not dare move. Their gum-chewing dog has a Stand which can fly, but he is not all that loyal or brave.

JUDGE A Clark Kent type by day has the job of seeing justice is done, at least in the long run, and death is no excuse. You've never seen courtroom battles like this. At one stage the soul of the deceased is called as a witness for the defence.

KEY THE METAL IDOL Key, a humanoid robot in the shape of a girl, or perhaps a real girl who just thinks she is a robot, learns from her late father that she can become human by making 30,000 friends. Where she lives is too small for this, so she moves to Tokyo. There, she falls in with a school-friend from her home, and afoul of a secret group which is having problems with humanoid robots of the definitely genuine variety.

Kiki (and Jiji) in flight

KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE Teenage witch and her black cat set out to make their way alone in the world. This could almost be set in our universe, except for one or two odd background details, such as the fact that the sight of a girl on a broomstick does not raise eyebrows very much. Kiki meets people, makes friends, loses powers, then has to get those powers back in hurry when crisis threatens. (Disney has picked up Kiki for English language release. Check out Disney's Kiki page here.)

KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD The story of a boy, a girl, and another girl. This would complicate the situation enough, without the fact that the boy's entire family on the mother's side has ESP, and this fact must be kept secret. (Powers vary from person to person, but telekinesis and teleportation are common.) ESP is often used as a fall-back to solve love-triangle problems, (EG: teleportation to keep two dates simultaneously,) but always seems to end up causing more problems than are solved. Series builds up nicely to the movie (I Want to Return to That Day, which ignores the ESP angle) in which the triangle becomes conclusively broken. (Followed more recently by Shin Kimagure Orange Road, in which the central character time-travels five years into his own future.)

KISHIN CORPS In this parallel universe, World War 2 coincided with an invasion from outer space. Action revolves around giant robots built using a combination of borrowed alien technology and 1940s materials.

LAIN See SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAIN.

LAPUTA, CASTLE IN THE SKY In a parallel universe, on an Earth whose technology somewhat matches ours in the early days of flight, a boy and a girl are thrown together in a quest for the mightiest of the flying cities that terrorised the world in ancient times. The military and a gang of air pirates are drawn into the quest.

LAUGHING TARGET A boy and a girl are getting along quite well together at high school, until she learns of his fiance. He explains he is the victim of an arranged marriage, set up by the matriarch of his family, who has recently died in mysterious circumstances. Although he sees no reason to go through with the marriage, difficulties are encountered. His intended is (a) incredibly beautiful (b) totally devoted to him, and (c) has at some time in the past made a deal with a supernatural-something called "Eaters of the Dead." The really bad news is that she becomes aware she has a rival.

LEGEND OF GALACTIC HEROES The story of Reinhardt Von Lohengram and Yang Wenli, two military leaders on opposite sides in a far future that looks incredibly like 19th century Europe. War in the galaxy is frequently interrupted by bouts of short-lived peace, in this talking-heads series that reminded me, for one, of Gordon Dickson's Dorsai.

Anything with LEMON in the title Pornography.

LENSMAN Based on the series by E.E. "Doc" Smith: Kimball Kinnison gets a semi-sentient lens, and sets about saving the galaxy.

LUPIN III A gentleman thief and his friends tackle some real villains, with a persistent Interpol agent never far behind them. Historic relics and secret passages seem to abound in the movie-length stories in this series. Lupin III is the grandson of the Lupin created by French author Maurice LeBlanc. LeBlanc's estate only recently seems to have become aware of Lupin III's existence, leading to his being renamed "Rupan" (the way "Lupin" is pronounced in a Japanese accent) or "Wolf" (which is what "Lupin" means) in newer translations. In even newer translations it is probably back to "Lupin" again, as the original copyright has now expired.

The transforming aircraft/giant robot from Macross

MACROSS In a Nostradamian 1999, a battle-damaged alien spacecraft crashes to Earth. The Earth people restore it to space-worthiness, just in time to have it automatically open fire on a battle-fleet of the race of giants who have come looking for it. The ship makes a quick getaway using a hyper-space fold...and then is a long time getting back home, fighting all the way. A movie based on this tv series (MACROSS: DO YOU REMEMBER LOVE) is officially worked into the chronology as being a movie made in the tv-series' universe. The first sequel series (MACROSS II) is now set in a parallel universe. The new sequel (MACROSS PLUS) is set in the "real" universe, as is the new MACROSS series (which was less than enthusiastically received.) The English dubbed version of the first series (ROBOTECH) and its proposed sequel series THE SENTINELS (which got as far as one completed episode before it fell through) are not officially anywhere.

MACROSS PLUS On a colony world where idol singer Sharon Apple is visiting, a girl is reunited with her two boyfriends, and the plot is a long time surfacing. Sharon Apple is a hologram, and her fans all know it. (Look at the state of special effects in stage performances today, and see the advantages in having a singer who is part of the technology.) The military has finally come up with a pilotless fighter plane, which utilises the same technology as Sharon. Unfortunately Sharon has a certain basic flaw that does not really matter in stage performances, but...

MADOX-O1: METAL SKIN PANIC When the military's newest tank-busting power-suit literally falls off the back of a truck, our hero accidentally gets himself locked inside it. (He has the manual...trapped inside with him.) He needs to keep a critical date with his girl friend, the army wants its power suit back, and the military expert in charge thirsts revenge, revenge REVENGE against the Madox-01.

MAGICAL STAGE FANCY LALA Young Miho gets adopted by two tiny, floppy eared dinosaurs, (from The World of the Memory of Time), who give her the power to turn into an adult. This gives her a secret identity to juggle with, as almost immediately, by the sheer luck of being in the right place at the right time as her adult self, she gets to become a professional model. With such a premise, this series had the potential to be truly ghastly. Fortunately, together with attention to characterisation, it actually progresses quite nicely.

MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH Three school girls on an excursion to Tokyo Tower suddenly find themselves in the parallel world Cephiro...which has no counterpart to the tower. Fortunately they land on a giant flying fish before hitting the ground. They soon find themselves on a magic quest, accumulating magic artefacts and additions to their costumes as they go, to the delight of the toy companies making the merchandise to go with this series. (The series later had a far more gritty retelling for an OAV release, with the action taking place in a dark and suddenly depopulated Japan, instead of a fairytale land.)

MAHÕ TSUKAI TAI Aliens move in, trash Earth's defences, and then do basically nothing apart from be there. They even obey the traffic signals. Enter a high school Magic Club. (This is not conjuring-tricks-magic or the study of occult practices mind you, this is the real thing.) The club's president makes some rather rash statements while trying to attract new club members (preferably female) and it is not long before our broom-stick-riding heroes come to the attention of the aliens....
Although the OAV series stands alone well enough, the t.v. series carries on directly from where it finishes.

MAISON IKKOKU Romantic problems between a college student and the female caretaker of a block of one-room flats, home to a variety of eccentric characters. (Non-SF...unless Yotsuya really does turn into a snake when he goes away from home.) It would have been just as easy to do this series in live action. (In fact, at least one live-action movie was made.) By the same creator as URUSEI YATSURA, RANMA ½, and the MERMAID series.

MAMONO HUNTER YOKO See DEVIL HUNTER YOHKO

MARIS THE WONDERGIRL / MARIS THE CHOJO See SUPERGAL

Yuu & Miki

MARMALADE BOY One morning the parents of a normal high school girl (Miki) tell her they are getting divorced, marrying two other people (who are currently married to one another) and, as they get along so fabulously, all will be moving into the one house together. This includes the new couple's son, to whom Miki finds herself being attracted against her will, around the same time she discovers another boy she was in love with has feelings for her after all. Then things start to get involved.

MASTER MOSQUITON In search of immortality in the 1920s, a girl revives the vampire Mosquiton. Mosquiton is quite a charming and reasonable fellow, except when the blood-lust is on him. When a pyramid appears in the middle of London, (funny that never made the history books) it sets off a series of events in which it unfortunately becomes necessary to trigger Mosquiton's blood lust. A lot!

MEGAZONE 23 It looks like Tokyo of the 1980s, where an idol singer called Eve is beloved by all, although nobody has ever actually met her. When a boy gets a stolen motor cycle that transforms into a robot, things start to unravel. It is not the 1980s. It is not Tokyo. And Eve is not human. By the time Harmony Gold got through "translating" this one, it was a ROBOTECH sequel. They also added a happy ending where there was none. I hate to say it, but the new ending works. (The hero fights and wins. In the original, the hero just survives and the story stops.)

MEMORIES A movie consisting of three stories. In the first a salvage crew enters a derelict space station and gets entangled in the holograms and memories of the woman responsible for it. In the second, a man going for help (after waking to find each person, bird, and animal around him is in a coma) can't figure out why those people in the far distance are shooting at him. The third follows a family on a world at war, in a town whose main industry seems to be maintaining and firing huge cannons.

MERMAID.... The creator of URUSEI YATSURA here turns to straight drama. Those who eat the flesh of a mermaid become immortal, says the legend. True...for those few the stuff fails to kill outright, or turn into slavering mutants. Stories in the MERMAID series feature a 400 year old fisherman for whom the novelty of living forever has thoroughly worn off. In the present day he teams up with a young girl who was raised by mermaids for their own nefarious purpose.

MIDNIGHT EYE GOKU A shirtless detective gets an artificial eye which can patch him in to any computer anywhere, and a staff capable of extending itself to ridiculous lengths. Then he is turned loose on the high-tech bad guys, to go about his job James-Bond-style.

MINKY MOMO I had managed to hear about Magical Princess Minky Momo for a number of years, without ever actually seeing anything of her or learning anything much about the MM stories. Apparently there have been two Minky Momos. Each was sent to earth from dreamland, and while here lived as a normal child, while straightening out other people's problems. (The second Momo came to earth after the first one was killed which would explain how a time-travelling Minky Momo meets another version of herself, in the first MM story I ever got to see.) Sometimes transforms into a grown-up magical heroine, in order to fix problems.

MIRACLE GIRLS Imagine the twins of Kimagure Orange Road with their own series. (And if that does not mean a lot, Orange Road is a lot like Miracle Girls with a psychic brother in a romantic triangle.) The fact of the girls psychic powers is an incredibly badly kept secret. At first all they have is short-range teleportation and even shorter range telepathy. They come by some special flowers that look amazingly like cheap plastic jewellery, and which boost their abilities somewhat. (At one point they teleport from point A to point B via a communications satellite.) Later, they come into more artefacts that look like cheap plastic jewellery (to the toy companies' delight) that boost their powers still further.

MIYUKI-CHAN IN WONDERLAND Any resemblance to Alice in Wonderland is far from coincidental. However this tale obviously caters for, shall we say, older children. Followed by a sequel, Miyuki-chan in Mirrorland.

MOBILE BATTLESHIP NADESICO The Jovian Lizards have taken over Mars, and now Earth is in their sights. When a space battleship is sent to Mars, it finds that neither the lizards nor their cause to be quite what they have been told, and interest in the Earth anime Gekiganger may be the key to any possible future.

MOLDIVER A teenager makes a breakthrough that enables him to become an American-style superhero secret identity and all. As he gets drawn into conflict with a mad scientist, his sister and kid brother get into the act.

MODERN DAY TANUKI WAR TUM-TUM See PON POKO.

Mononoke Hime
MONONOKE HIME In Japan, circa the 14th or 15th century, a village is threatened by a Tatari Gami (something that looks at times like a giant tarantula made of worms or snakes, but turns out to be an insane bore-god). Ashitaka saves the village, but comes under a curse in the process. His search for a cure takes him to the west, where the monster came from, and where the animal gods of the forest clash with humans. His travels take him to a human girl raised by a wolf god, and to a woman setting up a kingdom for oppressed humans. The two sides clash, with Ashitaka in the middle. The story begins....

MY DEAR MARIE A variation of the "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy builds girl" theme. This is a "boy is too shy to talk to girl, boy builds sister" story. (What? Another one?)

MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO Two young girls move to the Japanese countryside with their father. Set circa 1953. Their encounter with the supernatural is handled very naturally. One of my personal favourite movies of all time.

MYSTERIOUS THIEF ST TAIL The daughter of a magician and a cat burglar takes after both sides of the family. She becomes attracted to a fellow-student who fancies himself as a detective (along the lines of his father) and who is trying to catch her.

Nadia and Jean

NADIA OF THE MYSTERIOUS SEA    See NADIA: THE SECRET OF BLUE WATER

NADIA OF THE SEA OF MYSTERY   See NADIA: THE SECRET OF BLUE WATER

NADIA: THE SECRET OF THE BLUE WATER Set roughly in the Jules Verne universe with more than a slight nod in the direction of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A dark-skinned circus girl (Nadia) teams up with an inventor French boy (Jean). Together they discover her origin while combatting an attempt at world domination by the chief enemy of Captain Nemo. (Did you know the Nautilus carried Polaris missiles? Just one of those things Verne forgot to mention.)

 

NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND It has been a thousand years since war devastated the world. What is left of humanity battles giant insects, an ever-expanding fungal forest, poisonous air, and one another. However in the Valley of the Wind, where a perpetual sea-breeze keeps the air clean, life is comparatively idyllic. Then an aircraft carrying a one-thousand-year-old weapon crashes in the valley, on which two kingdoms now focus their might. It falls to Princess Nausicaä to find a way to end the conflict before it ends the human race. (The first English-dubbed version of this which renamed the central character "Sandra" and was retitled Warriors of the Wind had over half an hour expertly edited out...for no reason I could see. More recently Bueno Vista has begun work on a new dub.)

Evangelion

NEON GENESIS EVANGELION Something found in Antarctica caused the Second Impact, which evaporated the continent and knocked the Earth off its axis. What is left of mankind is still recovering fourteen years later, when the Angels begin to arrive. They all home in on Tokyo 3 in Japan, new location for what was found under the ice. A handful of young people, capable of piloting the Eva units giant bio-mechanical robots that can take on an Angel hand to hand are all there is to hold off a Third Impact. So they are told. Whatever it was that started in Antarctica is not over yet, and with more conspiracies and lies abounding than in the X-Files, who can be sure what is really going? (Pay attention. Major plot twists may appear in a line of throw-away dialogue, or in an image you can miss by blinking at the wrong time.) In the end, win or lose, everything will be drastically different for the human race. [Personal recommendation: Ignore episodes 25 and 26, and proceed directly to the End of Evangelion movie.]

NO NEED FOR TENCHI Tenchi starts out as an average boy helping out at his grandfather's temple, and suddenly finds himself up to his ears in various extraterrestrial females on both sides of the law. Watch out for Ryo-oki, a carrot-loving creature that is part rabbit, part cat, and all space-ship.

Now and Then Here and There

NOW AND THEN, HERE AND THERE Starting with episode one, you will discover you can get vertigo watching a cartoon. Then the plot takes over. A boy-meets-girl-on-different-chimney-tops story, which gives way to a boy-shanghaied-into-the-losing-side-of-a-war-in-a-parallel-world story.

NURSE ANGEL LILIKA See NURSE ANGEL RIRIKA

NURSE ANGEL RIRIKA Another series in the SAILOR MOON pattern. Young girl gets nurse costume and vaccine-power-blast powers to counter invaders from a parallel world.

OH MY GODDESS A boy in a college dorm phones for pizza, dials the wrong number, and rings heaven. Given one wish from the goddess who responds, he jokingly requests she stay with him forever. She proceeds to do so, which complicates matters straight away, as he is not allowed to have girls in the dormitory. After being thrown out of the school, he and the goddess move in to a vacant temple, after she gets permission from the deity concerned. His kid sister moves in temporarily, and winds up staying for the rest of the series. Things really start to hum when the goddess's relatives begin moving in. At one stage there is a telephone call from God.

OJOSAMA SOSAMA A group of girls with varying backgrounds and nationalities get together at a girls' school. They all have one thing in common each has more money than brains. They then give everyone else ulcers by deciding to fight crime.

ONCE UPON A TIME This is the name Harmony Gold gave it for the English dub. See WINDARIA.

ON YOUR MARK This musical clip looks like one of those shorts which tells the whole story. Actually it's not. It really is the whole story. There is no longer version! However brief, this has to be the best "love story about two men who rescue an angel from being used as a power-source" that there is.

ORGUSS II See SUPER DIMENSIONAL CENTURY ORGUSS.

OTAKU NO VIDEO With occasional mock-documentary interludes, this follows the story of an ordinary Joe who blunders into anime fandom, who goes on to become a true fan...and beyond.

OUTLANDERS Starts off like a (comparatively) serious version of URUSEI YATSURA. Japanese boy gets romantically involved with horned female invader. In the original manga, Earth gets destroyed part way through the series...but life goes on.

Patlabor
PATLABOR With the proliferation of giant robots (labors), giant-robot crime also increases. The police respond by getting their own giant robots the PATrol LABORS. (Originally set ten years in the future in the world of 1999, the series is still going, is still set ten years in the future, and ignores what needs ignoring.)

PERFECT BLUE When Mima makes the transition from singer to actress, and sheds her squeaky-clean image, she puts a few noses out of joint. She is working in a drama series featuring a chain of mysterious murders, when genuine murders begin happening around her. The line between fantasy and reality begins to blur.

PHANTOM QUEST   The ghost-busting-style adventures of a female investigator of the supernatural.

PON POKO Shape-changing Japanese raccoons (Tanuki), defenders of the natural environment, versus humans invading their territory.

PORCO ROSSO See THE CRIMSON PIG

PRINCESS MONONOKE See MONONOKE HIME.

PROJECT A-KO Life can be tough in a girl's school, even if you do have superhuman powers. Sixteen years after an alien space ship turns a major city into a big crater, Earth is invaded by aliens searching for a missing princess. The story stands well on its own, even if you don't get any of the multitude of anime in-jokes. (At all costs...AVOID THE ENGLISH DUBBED VERSION OF THIS! Get it subtitled.) Followed by a series of sequels.

RAH XEPHON The story begins in what seems to be present-day Japan. Students have minor questions like "Why do we have to learn English when places like England and America don't exist anymore?" One particular student gets a few more questions after being involved in a seeming train accident that turns out to have something to do with a flying vessel attacking the city. His main questions are along the lines of "Why are all these people after me all of a sudden?" and "Why do some of them bleed blue?"

RANMA ½ (The Japanese translation of the name would more literally be "Ranma, two parts of one.") Following an accident involving a sacred pool in China, a boy martial artist turns into a girl whenever he gets splashed with cold water. On top of this his father, a sometimes panda (an accident with another sacred pool), arranges a marriage for him with the tomboy daughter of an old friend. Life is complicated by an inability to not get splashed with cold water, and an inability to avoid getting entangled with people with amorous designs. Created by the same person who did URUSEI YATSURA.

RECORD OF THE LODOSS WAR Lodoss, the accursed island, faces incredible evil. Fortunately, a mixed band (thief, elf, wizard, etc) fall in together on the side of niceness. Everything Dungeons and Dragons has...so does this. No coincidence.

RETURN OF THE CAT If you have seen WHISPERS OF THE HEART, one or two characters will seem familiar. (This is not so much a sequel as a movie of the story the heroine in WHISPERS was writing.) A girl saves a cat from being squished by a truck. Only when the cat gets up on two legs and dusts himself off does she (and we) begin to realise things are departing from what is generally perceived as "normal". She has saved the life of the son of the King of the Cats, and soon finds her life being complicated by a series of rewards any cat would appreciate.

ROBOTECH See MACROSS.

ROBOT CARNIVAL A series of short films, with robots as a common theme. Recommended for the neophyte anime viewer, even in unsubtitled/undubbed form. Only one story is dialogue-dependant, some have no dialogue at all, and in another the villain speaks entirely in passable English.

THE ROSE OF VERSAILLES The story of a woman raised as a man in France before the Reign of Terror. Given the setting and the number of historical characters, you know in advance everyone is not going to get to live happily ever after, come the end of the series.

ROYAL SPACE FORCE See WINGS OF HONNEAMISE

RUPAN III See LUPIN III

RURONI KENSHIN In the 1860s a genius swordsman with a trick-bladed sword to get around the "no swords" law gets involved with the female owner of a dojo. His vow never to kill again takes a hammering as he gets plagued by a series of foes who all seem to have death-wishes.

SABRE MARIONETTE With men being the only survivors of a long-ago space ship crash, their cloned descendants have no real women. All females are actually androids, called "marionettes". (Sabre marionettes are androids designed for battle.) In Sabre Marionette J a new type of android appears, equipped with a "virgin circuit" (or "maiden circuit", depending on which translation you get) enabling them to be more human than certain humans. After this, women reappear on the planet, leading in to Sabre Marionette X and Sabre Marionette R. Later, some of the original androids are still around in Saber Marionette Z.

Sailor Moon characters

SAILOR MOON School-girl meets talking cat, and soon gets a new costume and the ability to fight a demonic onslaught in super-heroic fashion. Nobody seems to recognise her in super-heroine mode, even though she still looks much the same. (At least Clark Kent has the decency to wear glasses.) She picks up an assortment of super-powered friends as she goes along. All have a common background in previous lives, which has a bearing on the future. (Just one aside: When the Japanese look at a full moon, they do not see a human face, they see a rabbit. This helps explain all the rabbit symbolism, which even extends to the central character's name.) This series was aimed at young teenage girls, but picked up a much broader following.

SAISHO HEIKI KANOJO The title can equally well be translated as "She, the Ultimate Weapon", or "My Girlfriend the Ultimate Weapon". The series begins like a routine romance about a high school couple, Shuji and Chise, and then Japan comes under attack. Shuji finds out something about his girlfriend not even her parents know, that she has been modified by the government to be the most powerful weapon on the face of the planet. Can a boy and a superweapon live perfectly normal lives in a time of war? (Quick answer: No!)

SECRET OF BLUE WATER See NADIA: THE SECRET OF BLUE WATER

SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAIN A schoolgirl commits suicide, and afterwards her friends start to get new email from her. Lain is one girl who finds this a less disconcerting experience than her friends. She investigates by poking about in The Wired (which seems to be a new term for cyberspace), and something pokes back. It begins to seem there might be another Lain out there, identity takes a pounding, and reality at times does not seem all that concrete. After seeing all episodes of this series, you might want to view it all again just to see everything in a new light. The style is such that on a first viewing it is sometimes hard to tell what, if anything, is going on.

SHADOW LADY I originally listed this here because, although nobody at the time seemed to be even thinking about making it into an anime, the chances looked good. The manga was by the same person who did Video Girl Ai and DNA2, and the bizarre plot involves a terminally shy girl who acquires super powers by applying eye shadow. Her costume varies according to the task at hand, but mostly seems based around her cleavage. It struck me that the makeup kit which performs the transformation of costume and character must have been already having merchandising outfits licking their chops. The manga series came to an end after only three volumes, but went on to become an English language comic (with mirror-flipped artwork). At one stage there was a rumour the Americans might make it into an animated series. The one thing looking ever-increasingly unlikely is its chances of becoming an anime.

SHAMANIC PRINCESS Tiara comes from a world of magic to our world, seeking a thief and the artefact he has stolen. All she has to do is kill the thief and return the artefact. Unfortunately it does not turn out as simple as this.

SHE, THE ULTIMATE WEAPON See SAISHO HEIKI KANOJO

SILENT MOBIUS In the near future, an elite all-female police force protects the world from the supernatural Lucifer Folk, intruders from another realm.

SOL BIANCA A group of girl pirates with a space ship, much in fashion of Blake's Seven and the "Liberator". (They have names like Janny, Feb, April, May and June. Makes me wonder what happened to March.)

SPACE FAMILY KARL BINSON A baby girl is orphaned when a human-built space ship comes to grief on a distant planet. She is rescued by a troupe of mixed aliens, who form a family and raise her the way they figure humans would. (Daddy is a robot, Mummy is...not even humanoid, but they do the best they can, and get quite involved in their roles.) The fun begins as the girl reaches school age.

SPIRIT OF WONDER A Chinese lady runs an inn somewhere in Europe, waging a constant battle with a couple of tenants constantly behind with their rent. She is sweet on one, and the other is an inventor who always seems to find plenty of money to spend on his ridiculous gadgets. One evening she notices a birthday greeting to her, written on the face of the moon....

SPIRITED AWAY A young girl is yanked from her customary haunts when her parents move. Getting lost on the way to their new destination, they come across what seems to be a deserted theme park. By the time night begins to fall the girl's parents have made pigs of themselves, and she has to learn to make her way in a whole new world ... if she can survive long enough.

STAR BLAZERS Star Blazers is the title under which we saw it here, once translated into English, and after the surgical removal of such unsuitable-for-children things as glimpses of nudity and the concept of mortality. Rising radiation levels dry up the seas and drive the human race into underground cities. (Please don't ask where all the water actually went, it certainly was not into water vapour.) Retreating oceans put the WW2 vessel Yamato back above sea level, where its rusting hull is used to conceal massive renovations. The new Yamato (whose name is changed to Argo in episode one of the English version) blasts off into space to solve the radiation problem at its extraterrestrial source. Some of the cover-ups in the English version are incredibly transparent. (Examples: Crew members get visibly drunk on bottles of "natural spring water". A marine looks at a totally new kind of alien ground vehicle bearing down and says "Aha! Robot tanks!" They keep getting called "robot tanks" even when the Earth forces take one of them over, and throw dead bodies out. Later, in a dreadnought that is a transparent combination of the US battleship Missouri and the USA, (after it nukes the moon and demands Earth's unconditional surrender) a never-to-be-seen-again central character sits on top of its energy core, which he manually triggers with demolition charges. As another central character escapes the conflagration by the skin of his teeth, he is informed "Knox got out behind you." The Americans do not have a monopoly on cover-ups. In the original series, everybody was killed at the end. No survivors. A movie of the series was made, in which everybody survived. A sequel was done to the movie. I think the Japanese have used the sequel-to-a-remake trick more than once in the Yamato series. In the English version, the lingering death by radiation poisoning of one of the main characters was so definite and so important to the plot that it was left in. In one of the numerous Yamato sequels, probably thanks to profit-motivation, he gets brought back. (It used to be somewhat standard in anime to have a mass slaughtering of central characters towards the end. These days, an awareness of sequels has made the Japanese less inclined to do this, thereby saving the contortions involved in reviving favourite characters.)

SUPER CAT-GIRL NUKU NUKU See ALL PURPOSE CULTURAL CAT-GIRL NUKU NUKU.

SUPER DIMENSIONAL CENTURY ORGUSS We've had ABC weapons - atomic, bacterial, and chemical - and now the D-weapon. A dimension bomb goes off while the hero is trying to disarm it at the foot of an orbital tower. lnstead of being killed, he is blown into a world that, at first, seems almost normal. Then he notices the first people he meets (who do not try to kill him) have tendrils. After this he gets introduced to the weird stuff. He learns he is in a patchwork world where reality has been shattered by the D-bomb. There is just one chance....
ORGUSS II In this short sequel to SUPER DIMENSIONAL CENTURY ORGUSS, it is 200 years since the first series. The primitive and the futuristic exist in interesting combination, in a world inhabited entirely by humans it seems. (Setting off the first D-bomb caused the original problem, and setting off the second D-bomb caused the current problem. Guess what the solution is?) Our hero, who is trying to get by as best he can, joins the army just before a war strands him on the wrong side of the border. Then it turns out some of the other characters in this story are not quite what they at first seem.

SUPERGAL Maris, money-worshipping bounty hunter born on a high gravity planet, fights a losing battle to stay ahead of poverty. The title of the English release changed to MARIS THE WONDERGIRL (or sometimes MARIS THE CHOJO) when DC comics threatened legal action.

THEY WERE 11 An outer-space mystery. Ten people are put aboard a drifting space station. Problems begin when a head count shows there are actually eleven. Who is the extra person and why is he (or it) lying? Is the situation a mistake, or a test, or something more sinister? Everybody falls under suspicion as added problems threaten death by heat and disease.

THIS IS GREENWOOD Life in a boys' boarding school. Major weirdness.

3X3 EYES Boy meets girl. Boy gets killed. Boy gets better. Boy helps girl in her quest to become human...getting killed several more times in the process. Unfortunately, even though he is invulnerable, his friends are not. Added to this, it turns out the girl (Pei) has enemies who can put him away permanently.

TIME STRANGER Caught up with a fleeing time-traveller, some present-day students and their bus are bounced from war to war into the Japanese Middle Ages.

TOMB OF THE FIREFLY See GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES

TRIGUN Two female insurance agents come to a Wild-West-style planet, in search of that dangerous and dreaded one-man disaster area called "Vash the Stampede". They search in episode after episode without finding him, but instead keep falling over the same red-coated idiot in one hairy situation after another, only to see him apparently bumble through each incident and come out alive...but only after a maximum of chaos has been inflicted. Very slowly, the penny begins to drop.

URUSEI YATSURA Demonic aliens invade Earth, giving the human race one chance. A randomly selected human must play a game of tag with Lum, bikini-clad daughter of the leader of the invaders. Said human, the incredibly lecherous Ataru Moroboshi, manages to win. Unfortunately he accidentally proposes to Lum afterwards. She accepts. And this is only in episode one. In the following 218 episodes, plus OAVs and cinema-release animated movies the story continues. Any supporting character introduced in the series' run could easily have had their own series. Plots mainly involve Ataru's efforts at girl-chasing anybody not Lum, and Lum's successful efforts to stop him. Also released as Those Obnoxious Aliens one English translation of the pun-ridden Japanese title.

VAMPIRE HUNTER D In the distant future, long after a nuclear holocaust, "mutants and demons slither through a world of darkness." Finding herself targeted by the local vampire, the 10,000 year old Count Lee, a woman turns to wandering vampire hunter D, for help. D's edge is that he is not entirely human himself.

VAMPIRE PRINCESS MIYU A vampire girl fights demon-gods who feed on humans.

Battle-bike from Venus Wars
VENUS WARS After Venus is hit by an ice asteroid that renders that world habitable, it is settled by human beings. Slowly, the planet begins to revert to its original state. The humans respond by enthusiastically going to war with one another. The story begins with a reporter from Earth arriving as troubles start, and her meeting the bike-riding hero (who goes by the subtle name of "Hiro"). Animation is assisted during the battle-bike scenes with live-action backgrounds, easy to spot despite special effects to cover the fact.

VIDEO GIRL AI Boy (Yota) feels dejected when the girl he is secretly in love with (Moemi) falls for his best friend. (That the best friend does not love her is a trifle she does not let be a bother). To drown his sorrows, Yota gets a tape from a mysterious video store. The girl on the tape pops out of the screen. The video girl (named Ai "Ai" being a Japanese word for "love") will help him win Moemi if this is at all possible. Video girls are programmed not to fall in love with their assigned mortals...pity about the faulty VCR this one's tape is being played on. Life gets complicated. For everybody.

VILLGUST   Two teams of chosen heroes must save their world from the forces of evil, providing they survive their first encounter with one another. (Due to the cat-girl's fascination with small flying things, it seems to me their evilness-finding tactics involves following the migration routes of butterflies.)

VIOLINIST OF HAMELIN see HAMELN THE VIOLINIST

VISION OF ESCAFLOWNE Average schoolgirl Hitomi suddenly finds herself on a world that has Earth and moon in the sky together. This land has dragons and giant robots, and it is a time of war. The entire series was later squeezed into one cinema-release movie, Escaflowne - A Girl in Gaea.

WEDDING PEACH This has to be seen to be believed. A girl gets super powers from the goddess Aphrodite, and swings into action against the forces of darkness...in a wedding dress.

WHISPER OF THE HEART The Japanese paid for the rights to Country Road for this one, and used the song to death. The story of a girl, a library, an old shop, a boy, and a cat who draws all the threads together in a mystic fashion. (Either that or a hell of a lot of incredible coincidence is going on.) Nice movie, recommended.

WICKED CITY In a parallel universe, the treaty between the humans and the demons is up for renewal. Certain factions do not want to see this happen. A human male and demon female get together to ensure the treaty goes through, and discover they have a lot in common.

WINDARIA In another place, where human souls manifest as red birds at death, and go to another land over the sea by airship, war breaks out between two kingdoms, despite the fact two major political figures, one from each side, are in love. War, death, victory, and betrayal. Hard to do justice to in an outline, but worth seeing.

WINGS OF HONNEAMISE The story of the first man into space, against the background of impending war. Set on a (possibly) moonless planet either in another universe or elsewhere in this one. (Attention to detail makes the world most convincing.)

WITCH'S DELIVERY SERVICE See KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE

YAWARA Her grandfather sees her as the next Olympic judo champion, but Yawara just wants to live as a normal Japanese girl. Unfortunately her natural aptitude for judo works against her for the whole series.

YOU'RE UNDER ARREST A series set around the lives of two Tokyo traffic policewomen.

YU YU HAKESHO The central character gets killed even before the opening credits have finished. His being a total rotter should have settled his hash in the afterlife, but he died heroically. He is given a last chance. If he finds his good side, he will be returned to his body. All things considered, it is best he does this before the cremation. The story-line reminded me very vaguely of DC Comics' Deadman, until our hero became a supernatural detective, thanks to his sensitising to paranormal forces while not alive.

ZEIRAM At least two live action Zeiram movies have been made. The animated series fills in the early life of the female lead, before she came to Earth to battle a monster that looks, for most of the first movie, like a man in a hat and coat. (The first movie had a very small budget, and only threw the alien-ness of the enemy at the viewer near the conclusion.)


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