The Top Anime of 2004

Diebuster

2004 was probably the richest year for anime in the 00′ decade. So much high-quality stuff came out this year and whilst a bunch of them suffer from some noticeable flaws, their overall stories still shone greatly. If you disagree, you are wrong. Saying you don’t like the anime on this list is one thing, but saying 2004 sucked for anime is a whole different story altogether. It’s not like it was the following year of 2005 (dohohoho).

*****

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.19.46 PM12: Diebuster

Slightly prefer this to Gunbuster, mostly for the FLCL-like visuals and updated ideas. Honestly, I think the main reason I like Diebuster as much as I do is because it only had six episodes to tell its story. The actual storytelling is uneven and the main character is a bit of a one-dimensional klutz, even when she goes all badass in the end, which is something I wouldn’t be able to tolerate in a normal one-cour length (and why I rank it so low on this list). Still, Diebuster is a pretty cool successor to one of anime’s biggest influences with some great ideas along with a pretty cool tie-in to Gunbuster’s ending. Think Gurren Lagann with TOPless girls instead of topless boys and you’ll understand what you’re in for.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.01.56 PM11: Monster

Monster and I have a crappy history. I watched the anime back in my early days, but I was more into romantic comedies at the time so I didn’t continue with it. Then I read the entire manga three years later and loved it despite the huge length being a bit too much for me at times. Then I watched the anime as it was airing on SyFy, but the fact that I knew the story already coupled with me losing cable right before the last arc killed my enjoyment. Sometime after I started the blog, I went back and finished watching the rest of the dub and…yeah word of advice: if an anime is adapting something straight and you already read the manga, it’s not going to be that exciting to watch. It’s still a great show, but I don’t love it like others do.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.03.42 PM10: One Shot Bug Killer Hoihoi-san

I have to thank Landon for reminding me that this thing came out in 2004, because I somehow forgot and thought it got made in the 90s or something. Something about the concept I guess? I dunno. Anyways, it’s an eleven minute OVA about bug exterminators who were made in the shape of little girls in order to appeal to the mass otaku market. And when these tiny things exterminate, they really go the extra mile in getting rid of those roaches. You thought Panzer took advantage of cute girls doing violent things? You ain’t seen the mini-machine guns on these babies.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.04.35 PM9: Re Cutie Honey

It’s everything great about Cutie Honey with a bit more modernization to make it more relevant to the current generation whilst not losing what makes her so amazing. Basically, the fact that she’s a female version of The Mask and fights off the evil Panther Claw with a lot of Honey Flash style. Not much else I can really say about the thing other than I’d love more Go Nagai remakes. Also, the OP is awesome.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.02.30 PM8: Ghost in the Shell Innocence

I don’t think the second Ghost in the Shell movie is anywhere near as bad as people say. There is a load of technobabble and ideas being thrown out that seem to not be relevant to anything that’s going on, and it sucks that the Major isn’t around for the most part, but the visuals are fantastic and the actual story is pretty good without being very difficult to understand. Not that I could tell you what the plot of this thing was myself, even with reading the Wikipedia summary. Was it really about memes? Ghost in the Shell is harder to explain my love for than Utena. Just make sure to watch the English dub so you don’t have to read the stuff being said (unless you understand Japanese), be prepared for a ton of atmospherical scenes, and I think you’ll enjoy this film.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.04.48 PM7: Samurai Champloo

Some of you guys probably expected this show to be a lot higher. And it’s true that Champloo has a lot to love about it. Pity that not all of it comes together. The biggest problem is that middle section. It lacks a lot of tension since our main duo is so much stronger than everyone else, and the episodic stories, whilst interesting in the way they tackle various parts of of Japanese culture, don’t really have much consequence in the grand scheme of things. Thankfully, the series has more than enough style to make up for that. The only way you can make me care about samurai is when they’re breakdancing, apparently.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.03.53 PM6: Paranoia Agent

Stuffed animals are evil, yo. That’s what Paranoia Agent taught me. It also taught me that lies have deep consequences and are more far-reaching than you’d expect. Oh, and humans are nasty creatures. I’ve known that since kindergarten, but Paranoia Agent imparts these lessons through style, so that’s cool. It’s a brilliant character study told through a weird mixture of pop culture skewing and bizarre visuals. And that’s just fine by me.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.04.58 PM5: Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig

Easily the stronger season of the Stand Alone Complex part of Ghost in the Shell. The individual stories and topics are more focused and relevant, and the way everything ends is stronger than the slightly anti-climactic conclusion of the Laughing Man arc. It may lack a bit in regards to character arcs compared to the first season, but I kinda like how 2nd Gig plays out how the characters as some kind of police team who just happen to get involved, because it lends a more natural feel to how everything plays out. Plus, the Major is still awesome. And hot. Very hot.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.05.09 PM4: Genshiken

The first season of Genshiken is easily the best insight into otaku culture I have ever seen. It knows when to glorify and when to attack it without favoring one side over the other, and yet in the end, it’s all about loving it in different ways. This is especially true regarding Saki and how she went from hating otakus to…not so much loving them as accepting them and realizing they’re not too different from her. I really like how the first season doesn’t just cop out and makes her “one of them” so to speak. It’s a shame that the other seasons aren’t as good, but they’re not so crap as to taint this one.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.05.22 PM3: School Rumble

What I love the most about this show is how it makes you care about the huge cast and their personal stories by being really really funny. It goes into some serious stuff of course, but it always manages to work itself around to making me laugh in the end. If Rumiko Takahashi wrote a regular highschool anime without her usual Japanese religious influences and such, this is what I’d imagine the results to be. Basically, what I’m saying is School Rumble is one of the greatest sitcom anime ever and you should watch it.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.05.32 PM2: Gankutsuou

When I saw the beautiful art and the Count being awesome in regards to words and action, I knew I would love Gankutsuou to bits. Not only is it one of the best anime I have ever seen, it’s one of the best literary adaptations I have ever seen. Watching Gankutsuou is like being sucked into a world of knowledge and amazement at the same time. Where both style and substance are awesome whilst blending in perfectly. Pity it came out in the same year as my #1 anime, which also does this and does it better. But to some people, movies don’t count, so I’ll just end by saying Gankutsuou is the best to accomplish what it does in terms of series.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.05.39 PM1: Mind Game

Mind Game is basically the anime equivalent of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Enough said.

 

 

 

2 responses to “The Top Anime of 2004

  1. Fafner, Fantastic Children, Melody of Oblivion, Mezzo DSA, Windy Tales, Otogi Zoshi, and Jing: King of Bandits (OVA) for me.