Taking notes, Intense Training, Tokyo Drifts, and more in Nualpha's Top 5!
Anime has surely influenced us in some way at one point in our lives, especially since they always take us to imaginable places in our minds. There are some that make you reel with pain, while others make you cry with tears of satisfaction. Whether you're a fan of action or horror, there's always a genre out there to entertain even the most picky of viewers. While there are a plethora of anime out there to fancy over, there will will be a small handful that you just can't let go of and drive you mad with excitement. This is why I've decided to muster up my own top five anime that not only have brought me sheer gratification, but have also helped to change the entire infrastructure of anime as we know it. With all that being said, let us hop right into the nualpha top five!
5. D-Gray Man
- Airing Date: October 3, 2006 – September 30, 2008
Choosing a top 5 is never an easy task, since there are so many spectacular titles out there that truly belong in the upper echelons. I couldn't help but to immediately throw in D.Gray Man simply because it was one of the very few anime that stood out to me with design and captivating story. Allen Walker is the main protagonist from the story alongside Lavi and Yuu, who all are out to destroy the Millenium Earl's plans. Allen has the power of being able to exterminate ghouls using his powerful cursed eye and an anti-demon weapon as his arm. Every scene in the show always caught my eye, and kept me hungry to see the origins of Allen, but also see him take down Earl.
One of my favorite scenes from D.Gray Man is in the ghost of mater story arc, where Allen and Kanda find themselves in danger and square off against a level two akuma. The two bicker back and forth finding no common ground, but are totally unaware that their comrades Guzol and Lala are in grave danger. Lala loses her innocence heart and Guzol is on the verge of near death, and this all enrages Allen to the point where his cursed arm takes on its alternate form, a cannon that shoots out a huge beam of energy destroying anything it touches. Allen completely crushes the akuma with ease, but due to exhaustion he falls to the floor losing all of his powers. I loved this scene because it displayed Allen's true form but also his burning desire to protect those around him. A very heroic and cool way to end a deadly battle, and I found myself crying with joy after witnessing it.
I'll be frank, one major reason why I chose this show was because of Abingdon Boys School, a band created by famed artist T.M. Revolution. Call me a groupie, but I loved the opening intro “Innocent Sorrow” because it provided passage into the show itself. The melody and vocals were such a draw in, that there was never a moment of disappointment. Truly love this show in all its entirety, and on the plus side there is a new season being released this year! Allen Walker finally returns!
D.Gray Man English Trailer:
- Episodes: 43
- Airing Date: June 30, 1999 – September 17, 2000
GTO will always be a series that will stand the test of time in almost every way, because it teaches us the values of life. A lot of anime nowadays really focus on the flashy effects and gore, while GTO brings you back down to reality to educate you on the issues that matter: our well being. Onizuka had a pretty rough upbringing along with his close friend Ryuuji, who were both in a bike gang causing all sorts of trouble. Onizuka had enough of that life and wanted a change, so he decided on becoming a teacher to guide those who suffer from their own personal struggles.
One great example is when Onizuka first arrived at the campus and was immediately chastised by vice principal Uchiyamada due to his ruthless past, and negative image that he brought along with him to the class. Throughout the series, Uchiyamada continually lashed out at Onizuka despite Onizuka showing him nothing but respect for his work. Onizuka would always destroy his beloved Cresta which sparked even more anger and stress in Uchiyamada. All of those outbursts finally caught up to Uchiyamada, who fell ill during an excursion and Onizuka came to his aid and saved the school from being closed down indefinitely, but his life also. This taught him never to judge anyone by their appearance, to be calm under pressure and to be more accepting of people since we all have our own imperfections.
This truly relates to me in every way because teaching has been a profession I've taken seriously for most of my life. It's always essential to take initiative to help others out of struggles by relating to them and providing an outlook that they can visualize positively. Onizuka was such a strong leader in this regard because not only was he able to teach, but he did so in the greatest way possible: Calculating the situation, subtracting the drama, adding in food for thought, and summing it up all together to bring harmony among everyone.
GTO English Trailer
3. Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Airing Date: October 4, 2006 – June 27, 2007
Death Note is one of the very few anime I took very seriously to the point that that I bought every single movie, spin off, and memorabilia one could imagine. Light's character created so much tension and excitement throughout the entire series, that your heartstrings either couldn't handle it or you would succumb to withdrawal from having to wait until the next episode. The character relationships were arguably some of the best in anime, because you could see the polar opposites clashing at every turn. This clashing and sense of surprise were what truly sold the show, and bought my soul for the show's lifespan.
The story follows Light as he stumbles across a mysterious book dropped by a shinagami named Ryuk, who found himself bored and wanted to see how a human would make use of the death note. Light truly despised the current state of the world and wanted to rid of all the criminals who he thought created an imbalance. After writing the name of one notorious criminal down and seeing the surprising after effect, this prompted him to write off more criminals in order to create a utopian world where crime was nonexistent, and people would worship him. This dream would soon turn into a downward spiral of affairs, as now this curiosity turned Light into an obsessive cold hearted killer himself and introduced us to one of the best character plots of all time, Light and L's battle of wits.
The major selling point of this show was the notebook itself, since it sparked such a widespread of people going out to buy their own “death note” to see if they could actually write names and see the outcome (which proves how evil we truly are). Fortunately, no one was harmed when I wrote names down in my book, but consequently I dropped my book in water and thus the note book died. A true karmic ending to the death note series.
Death Note Trailer
2. Hajime no Ippo
- Episodes: 75
- Airing Date: October 4, 2000 – March 27, 2002
There is just something intriguing about Makunouchi and his innate ways of picking up boxing. This drive and determination are what drew me to the character in the series. Perhaps it is because I can relate to him in many ways, one of which having the sheer passion and motivation to never give up amidst all that is happening around him. Furthermore, what is so captivating is the burning desire in Makunouchi to accomplish the goals he sets for himself. The self sufficient demeanor is what sparkles the most since he relies solely on his heart to overcome his obstacles. In what would seem like an impossible feat in real life boxing scenarios, Makunouchi makes every battle seem effortless once he powers up his inner beast and unleashes his beloved Dempsey Roll on his adversaries. Every match is a nail biter, as you're presented with not only a man to man bout, but also a battle of wit, technicality, and finesse.
Makunouchi was your typical high school loner, who would always get bullied after school for that very reason. One afternoon while being assaulted under a bridge by a group of students, a mysterious man came to his rescue knocking out every single one with an array of punches and uppercuts. This display of strength and confidence sparked Makunouchi to take up boxing at the very same gym that this mysterious man (as we come to know as Takamura) went to, and from there Makunouchi's life changed forever. His fear of being bullied turned into a burning passion to overcome his battles with inner pain, and use it to demolish any opponent in his path in the ring. Whatever winnings he would receive, he would bring it back home to support his mother and the fish market she had running. From there, the story takes us on a journey through Makunouchi's growth as a lonely student to one of the world's greatest boxers in the series.
Makunouchi is not only a winner inside the ring, but his humble upbringings make him such a lovable character among his peers, primarily Takamura. The two are such polar opposites in their style and performance, but compliment one another in such a comical fashion that it makes you truly enjoy every moment the two train together. Pound for pound, Hajime no Ippo is by far one of the greatest anime out there and is a must watch for anyone looking for inspiration.
Hajime no Ippo 2nd Opening
1. Initial D
- Airing Date: April 19, 1998 - June 22, 2014
Eurobeats and JDM (Japanese Domestic Model) cars are what make up the whole recipe in Initial D, and is one of the main reasons why I love this show so much. The story is captivating, as we see a young man come into his own throughout the course of the series. Takumi had no passion to race intially, but his passion to drive was in high gear. It was then that his close friends Shinji and Itsuki convinced him to take a chance with street racing, and he managed to do so. His father Bunta was secretly tuning his now famous AE86 at times when Takumi would be at home, but once on the streets the beast came alive and he could not be stopped. I could go on for an eternity about how wonderful this show is, but I'll keep it frank.
Initial D is a show that displays not only a list of some of the world's best performance cars, but it showcases a display of sheer talent and tenacity in the eyes of Takumi, Keisuke and the rest of Project D. Every race has your heart pumping, while the euphoric rhythms of eurobeats keep your head bobbing as the rubber burns on the concrete, and the wheels squeel with excitement at every deep corner. Every battle is a rank match, and Takumi makes his way up the ladder convincingly and without much effort. Similar to Makunouchi from Hajime no Ippo, Takumi shares that inner desire to win, and you can see it in his eyes when he races. That truly makes you want to just get in your car and dance to the heartbeat.
Initial D Trailer
So what do you all think of these choices? They most certainly have helped shape the entire framework of anime as we know it, and brought us a load of excitement at every turn. Initial D geared us all up for the many other car anime that hit the scene (Wangan Midnight, Capetto, etc), while Hajime no Ippo showed us that not all sports anime are boring as long as you mix in a fantastic story around the main character. Death note brought out the evil side in us, as we were at times compelled to jot down the names of those who annoyed us and bring an end to their existence.
GTO taught us the importance of humanity, and that we should all learn to embrace our differences to strengthen our bonds. Allen taught us that despite our upbringing, we can always use it to our advantage to find the right direction in life.
With all that said we hope you enjoyed this top five, and as always for your sweet anime fill, keep it locked here at Honey's Anime if you enjoy hearing about our writer's favorite shows and more from Japan!